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Post-Secondary Education and Socioeconomic Factors

Education Webinar 2022

The Canadian Association of Sociology of Education (CASE) and Canadian Sociological Association (CSA) Sociology of Education Research Cluster are pleased to present this webinar.

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Webinar Co-organizers : Cathlene Hillier (Crandall University), Alana Butler (Queen’s University), Ee-Seul Yoon (University of Manitoba), Danielle Lorenz (University of Alberta), Emerson LaCroix (University of Waterloo), Gus Riveros (University of Western Ontario), and Maria Brisbane (University of Waterloo)

Presentation #1 : The Relative Role of Parental Income and Parent Education in Child Educational Achievement and Socioeconomic Status Attainment: A Decomposition Approach

Xavier St. Denis (Institut national de la recherche scientifique)

In this paper, we provide evidence on the relative importance of two family background variables for the educational attainment and income level achieved by Canadians: parental education and parental income. We find that parental education is more strongly related to a child’s educational achievement than parental income, although parental income also plays a significant role both statistically and substantively. These findings call into question less nuanced interpretations of some existing studies, which often appear to discount the role of parental income and financial obstacles to postsecondary education participation. At the same time, this study is consistent with existing evidence of the independent role of parental education in child educational attainment, hinting at important non-financial obstacles to educational attainment. Our insights are based on observational data and provide relevant insights for further causal research as well as discussions of new policy interventions.

Xavier St-Denis is Assistant Professor at the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) [National Institute for Scientific Research] in Montréal. His research focuses on social mobility, education, and labour market inequalities.

Presentation #2: Researching the Impact of Employer-Informed Career Access Programs in Improving Outcomes for Low-Income Adults in a Community-College Partnership Program

Alan Bourke and Amanjit Garcha (Mohawk College)

This proposal explores the workings of a college-community partnership program in Hamilton, Ontario that seeks to connect individuals from low-income communities with an entry-level employment pathway. The program offers tuition-free college level Sprogramming in several employment sectors, including healthcare and construction. Designed in collaboration with local employers and social service providers, students take a course designed to equip them with a combination of hard (i.e., technical and sector-specific) and soft (i.e., communicative) skills in order to boost their entry-level job readiness in a range of occupational fields. The research forms part of a community-engaged strategy that consists of employer-informed curriculum design, labour force analysis, and the development of customized competency and skills-training education that helps boost the employability of participating students. Drawing upon a thematic analysis of interview data conducted with employers, social service providers, and participating faculty and students, the focus of our presentation will be twofold: a) to explore participants’ perceptions of employee recruitment and retention challenges, and b) to critically assess the efficacy of customized college postsecondary programming in connecting students with an employment pathway. As an ongoing research initiative, we will share some key highlights from our preliminary research findings. We will conclude with some comments on the changing nature of education and industry and on the perceptions held by employers and social service providers regarding recruiting individuals from low-income communities.

Amanjit Garcha is a research coordinator at Mohawk College (Hamilton, ON) and co-investigator on the NSERC-funded Employment Pathways research project. Alan Bourke is a professor in Liberal Studies at Mohawk College and lead researcher on the Employment Pathways research project.