College bubble update: On the positive effects of career and technical education

by Ryan Streeter on September 7, 2014. Follow Ryan on Twitter.

Here’s another interesting reference in the study I cited in my last post. It shows the positive relationship between CTE and earnings and family formation. This subject, in my view, receives far too little attention from policymakers.

A recent randomized evaluation of Career Academies—a career- oriented high school program that provides small learning communities, emphasis on career paths, and internship opportunities for disadvantaged high school students—lends additional credence to the potential causal link between male earnings capacity and marriage rates. Eight years after students graduated from high school, males who participated in Career Academies due to the experiment were earning on average $361 more per month and were employed almost three months more per year than males who were experimentally assigned to traditional high school programs. Equally remarkable were the differences among Career Academy participants and non-participants in measures of family formation: male participants were 33% more likely to be married and living with their spouse, 30% more likely to be living with their partner and children, and 35% more likely to be the custodial parent of their children.

There are promising alternatives to a 4-year college degree for a large number of Americans, but to date, our policies surrounding these programs and opportunities are unclear, uncoordinated, and largely neglected by elected officials.

That’s why, for instance, Mike Pence has been spending so much time on this issue.