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Black students who enroll at for-profit trade schools in hopes of obtaining well-paying jobs often wind up deeper in debt and with fewer job prospects than their peers who enrolled at traditional two- or four-year educational institutions, a recent study found.

The study — titled “Why Wait Years to Become Something?: Low-Income African American Youth and the Costly Career Search in For-Profit Trade Schools”

— was conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and the University at Buffalo in New York.

Study co-author Stefanie DeLuca, an associate professor of sociology at Johns Hopkins, said some of these students who enroll in trade schools for occupations such as automotive technician, medical assistant, hair stylist, computer programmer, paralegal and truck driver may be better served attending two-year community colleges or four-year programs.

“This is about how young people in some of the most disadvantaged neighborhoods are trying to navigate the transition to a career with very little information,” DeLuca said. “The quick jump into for-profit schools really precludes other options that might be less costly and have a bigger return. … These young people are vulnerable to the flashy ads for these schools and lured in by how quickly they could get jobs.”

The study, which was published on the website of the journal Sociology of Education, can also be accessed on the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education website.

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