Career effects of occupation-related vocational education: Evidence from the military's internal labor market
Prior research on the labor market success of secondary vocational education has produced mixed results, with several studies finding wage gains only for individuals who work in training-related occupations. We contribute to this debate by focusing on a single occupation and organization and by comparing the careers of employees with and without occupation-related training in high school. We use longitudinal data on the careers of military recruits who completed high school Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC), a military science program that has features of a vocational training and school-to-work program. We find that the occupation-specific training received via JROTC reduces early turnover and improves long-run job stability for those who choose military jobs, suggesting that an important effect of vocational training is to improve job match quality. We also find that promotion rates for vocational graduates are similar to their peers, suggesting that vocational education in general works by improving occupational sorting.
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