Fixing to Change: A Best Practices Assessment of One-Stop Job Centers Working With Welfare Recipients. School-to-Work


During the early 1990s, several initiatives were launched to try and improve the transition from school to work for many young workers (e.g. School to Work Opportunities Act). The thrust of this initiative was to provide persons still in high school a greater connectivity to the expectations, realities, and opportunities of the workplace. This experience is hoped to provide students with a better appreciation of the value and use of the education and training they are receiving, and to help them think and plan realistically about how to start and shape a productive career.

The connection between this policy initiative and the One-Stop models visited was rather weak. A few of the One-Stop managers reported serious and systematic efforts to reach out to the school system, going to make presentations about the labor market and career services available at the One-Stop, and in at least one case, inviting classes to visit on field trips. However, there was little evidence that the One-Stop systems are being used to bring employers and schools together to any great degree, nor was there any real indication that schools are making greater use of the local labor market information available at the One-Stop to help students understand the world of work they are about to enter.

The relationship between promoting the transition from welfare-to-work and school-to-work did not appear to be a major concern in our discussions with One-Stop officials. For many, the school-to-work initiatives lacked any programmatic significance, either as a result of lack of resources (time, staff, and funding) or disinterest on the part of local public school (K-12) officials. Only in Tarrant County was the local school district an active participant in the One-Stop partnership. In this instance, the school district provided the adult education component of the One-Stop services, and seemed to be genuinely interested in strengthening and expanding this partnership.