Trajectories of the School-to-Work Transition in the U.S. and Germany: Effects of Different Educational Systems on the “Forgotten Half”
Corinne Alfeld

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



University of Minnesota

Primary Discipline

Comparative Education
What happens to U.S. youth who don’t enroll in a 4-year college? Evidence shows that many drift in and out of jobs and community/technical colleges, often without receiving credentials or other resources that would put them on a career path. What happens to these individuals in young adulthood? If they do get training, a degree, or a certification, where do they do so and is it sufficient? Developmental researchers such as Arnett (2000b) have identified a new, normative period of time called “emerging adulthood” where young people may still be exploring their options. Is this really developmentally beneficial? Or would young people who don’t pursue a 4-year college degree be better served by a more structured training system such as that of Germany? There may be developmental costs and benefits of each system. U.S. educators and policymakers have neglected the important question of the overall influences of educational experiences (or lack thereof) on the lives of young people. This research project will compare similar longitudinal datasets from the U.S. and Germany to better understand the trajectories of different kinds of students during the transition to young adulthood in two industrialized countries with very different secondary and post-secondary educational systems.
About Corinne Alfeld

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