Training Limited English Proficient Students for the Workplace: Trends in Vocational Education. New Focus, n 11 Sum 1989.
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With the decline of manufacturing, industry faces the layoff many low-skilled workers and a shortage of skilled workers. To fill the gap, workers will need more skills, often those not taught in schools. Language minority individuals are most affected by these changes. The situation has brought a new political focus on the role of vocational education in the overall educational system. Proponents of vocational education see it as an alternative to the academic-only program; it provides a transition to careers for the non-college bound, and a stepping stone for those seeking higher education. The level of participation of limited English proficient (LEP) students in vocational education programs is difficult to determine, but steady increase is suggested. LEP enrollments are skewed toward business, trade, and industry. Federal legislation attempts to provide accessibility, quality, and coordination of vocational education for this population. Currently model programs in the Chicago Public Schools and at Florida's Miami jackson Senior high School are addressing the specific needs of LEP students. The development of Vocational English as a Second Language (VESL) courses parallels these efforts. Educators, parents, and policymakers can all contribute to improving educational and employment preparation and services to LEP youth. (MSE)