What does Occupation-Related Vocational Education do? Evidence from an Internal Labor Market
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Extensive research on the impact of high school vocational education on postschool earnings has produced mixed results. Some studies find wage gains only for individuals who work in an occupation that is directly related to the vocational training received in high school. We shed light on this debate by focusing on a single occupation and by comparing the careers of individuals with and without occupation-related training in high school. We use a rich longitudinal data set that captures the careers of cohorts of military recruits who complete high school military science classes via the JROTC program. JROTC shares characteristics with both vocational training and school-tocareer programs. We find that the occupation-specific training received via JROTC reduces short run turnover and improves longer run job stability for those who choose military jobs, suggesting that one important effect of vocational training is to improve the quality of the job match. We also find that vocational trainees promote at higher rates after four years in the job; however, this is due to the head start provided by the vocational education background rather than their faster advancement in the hierarchy.
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