High school vocational training without a strong college-prep focus led some millennials to face wider gender employment and wage gaps than their peers, according to sociologists at UT Austin.
In a study published in the American Sociological Review, researchers considered whether high school graduates in blue-collar communities benefit from an emphasis on vocational training in high school. The study showed that vocational training without a strong college-prep curriculum leads to blue-collar job opportunities for men, but penalizes women, who end up earning 78 cents to a man’s dollar.
“This has been a real blind spot in the public discussion: the assumption that men and women would equally benefit from high school training for local blue-collar jobs,” said lead author and UT Austin sociology alumna April Sutton, a Frank H.T. Rhodes Postdoctoral Fellow at the Cornell Population Center.
“We rarely see such a clear snapshot of how gender differences emerge and are linked to what high schools teach,” said Chandra Muller, research associate in the UT Austin Population Research Center and associate faculty member in the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies.