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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Volume 56, Issue 2, 2002

Issue cover


Survey explores influences on youth workforce preparation

To develop programs and resources that help youth succeed in today’s workplace, it is important to understand the various factors that influence their career exploration and decision-making process. A survey was conducted with 1,433 high school seniors in Northern California. Results indicate that the number of young people planning to seek education or training beyond high school continues to rise. There are distinct differences in the educational aspirations and expectations among different ethnic groups.

The majority of students surveyed did not use school counseling services, and among those who did only a small percentage found them helpful. For most youth, parents are the primary source of help in preparing for further education and work. There is a strong positive relationship between academic achievement, and both participation in extracurricular activities and positive parent-child relations.

Career awareness and part-time work examined in lives of high school seniors

In a survey of career awareness among high school seniors in Northern California, almost all students agreed that career is an important consideration for them, and about two-thirds reported that they had decided on an occupational field. However, only about half reported that they were comfortable with their current career decision-making, had a clear idea of their own interests and abilities, or had sufficient knowledge about potential occupations. Minority students tended to express greater needs with regard to career exploration than white students. Compared to other groups, significantly fewer Latino males had made an occupational decision. Part-time work during the students’ senior year did not appear to hinder school grades or school engagement. In fact, working was associated with generally higher levels of career awareness, especially regarding the importance of career planning. However, part-time work was associated with increases in reported stress levels.

California Conservation Corps offers youth career development opportunities

Young people who leave high school without going on to college are a critical population to understand in terms of career development. This report highlights findings from a study of 166 youth who had recently joined the California Conservation Corps (CCC). Thirty percent of those surveyed had not completed high school. About one-fourth of the corps members had joined CCC with the hope of an eventual career with the Corps, and more than one-third were using CCC to explore job and career opportunities.

Teen financial literacy evaluated to develop outreach materials

Teenagers have access to and spend a great deal of money each year, yet research indicates that their financial literacy is low. Many curricula for teaching money management exist, but we do not know if we are teaching teens what they want to know in a way that they want to learn. This study, conducted by the Money 2000+ for Teens Workgroup of the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, sought to find out what teens want to know about financial management. Questionnaires were administered to 323 teens from five diverse groups: teens who were in juvenile hall or on probation, in public high schools, migrant education programs, pregnancy and parent-ing classes, and youth groups. The data were used to develop educational materials with “teen appeal,” which are currently being evaluated for eventual distribution nationally.

Long-term studies find benefits, challenges in alternative rice straw management

California state legislation passed in 1991 mandated a phased reduction of rice straw burning in the Central Valley, to reduce air pollution. In 1993, UC Davis scientists launched an 8-year research project on the long-term effects of various alternative means of managing rice straw. Burning, incorporation into the soil, rolling, and baling and removing the straw were compared, with and without winter flooding. None of the various practices reduced grain yields on our experimental plots, but there was an increase in weeds when straw was incorporated, and in particular when the fields were not winter flooded. However, when straw is incorporated, nutrients are returned to the soil and less nitrogen fertilizer can be applied, resulting in lower production costs and less potential for water pollution. In addition, waterfowl on the Pacific Flyway benefit significantly from the wetlands created when fields are flooded during the winter.

Repeated soil applications of fungicide reduce activity against cavity spot in carrots

In recent years, carrot growers in the San Joaquin Valley have suffered economic losses due to cavity spot, a soilborne disease, despite frequent applications of the fungicide mefenoxam. Although the pathogen remained highly sensitive to mefenoxam in laboratory studies, the effect-ive dosage of the fungicide was apparently compromised in certain fields. Compared to its longevity in soils with no history of mefenoxam use, such as fields using organic production methods, the fungicide degraded rapidly in soil from fields with repeated mefenoxam use. Our research reveals that repeated ap-plications of the fungicide to soil can increase the activity of microorganisms that de-grade it, potentially reducing its efficacy against cavity spot. This is problematic in California since mefenoxam is the only fungicide available to carrot growers for cavity spot control. It may be prudent to practice long crop rotations and to limit use of mefenox-am, where possible.