School-to-work partnerships: An analysis of the application of SCANS skills in a school-to-work partnership

Ann Frances Peterson, Fordham University


This study examined a School-to-Work partnership in order to gain an understanding of the role that the SCANS skills played within a high school/business partnership. The purpose and focus of the study were derived from the following four research questions: (a) To what degree do the students develop the SCANS skills in school? (b) How do students demonstrate understanding and application of SCANS skills during the internship program at the work site? (c) What is the role of the field partner in developing SCANS skills in the internship program? (d) How will the SCANS skills be connected between the worksite and the school? The review of literature in the areas of the changing economic structure in the United States: changing economies impact on education, adult learners, school to work transitions and business's role, federal government's role in educational reform, SCANS skills and implementation provided the theoretical framework for the study. The study was conducted using qualitative methodology, through interviews and observations as well as through the review of data related to the School to Work movement. Five students from two school districts were observed in the five key operating departments within the hotel. Ten people were interviewed for this study in a purposeful sampling. The people interviewed were from the business community where the hotel was located, from department heads within the hotel setting, and from the educational community that supported the participating school districts. Video tapes of the students' work experiences were also studied. In using a data reduction and verification process, several key themes emerged: There is validity for having the students (interns) apply the SCANS skills within the hotel. This was evidenced throughout the study. The completion of the reports done by the interns clearly showed the importance of the SCANS connection to both the work experience and to what had been learned in the class setting. Another key theme indicated that there were three components to the School to Work process. These components included school-based learning, work-based learning, and connection activities. This study also found that within the hotel setting students are able to practice and experience most of the SCANS skills. Department heads observed the interns improving their skill levels when practicing the various SCANS skills. The only SCAN skill not fully utilized was that of the systems skill. This may be because of the hotel environment. Further research in this area is suggested. Based on the literature review and the findings of the data collected, this study found evidence of the appropriateness of having the interns apply the SCANS skills in the hotel business setting.

Subject Area

Business education|Educational software|Vocational education|Secondary education

Recommended Citation

Peterson, Ann Frances, "School-to-work partnerships: An analysis of the application of SCANS skills in a school-to-work partnership" (1999). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9923440.