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Vocational Education for Youth Under the Custody of the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services - Findings and Recommendations Volume One - Final Report

NCJ Number
R L Nuttall; M Pedalino; E King; K Borkowski; J B Hunter
Date Published
97 pages
The primary purpose of this study was to determine the current status of vocational education services available to youth under the custody of the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services (DYS).
The study also assessed the characteristics of DYS youths and their needs for additional vocational programs. A third purpose of the study was to determine employer and labor union attitudes toward training or hiring juvenile ex-offenders and to develop specific proposals for pilot programs in this area. Data were obtained from interviews with 50 DYS personnel and other providers of services to DYS clients, 9 vocational school personnel, and 64 DYS clients. Data were also obtained from a national survey, other State programs, and from a questionnaire mailed to 740 employers and 250 labor representatives in Massachusetts. Study findings and recommendations indicate that there is a lack of appropriate education programs for DYS youth and that such programs, when organized, should be flexibly structured, fairly short in duration, have clearly defined goals, and offer hands-on training and individual attention. Because of the age restrictions in many jobs, youths should be allowed to stay in a program until they are 18 years old or unil the job-age restriction is changed. Furthermore, the vocational training needs of clients should be given substantial weight in placement procedures at DYS upon intake. Finally, it is suggested that all DYS youth be offered a two-part program consisting of work readiness and career exploration components. Statistical tables, 10 references, and copies of the survey instruments are provided. (ERIC abstract modified)