The purpose of this study was to explore the postsecondary educational and occupational expectations of work-bound rural youth. Three groups of work-bound youth were identified (work-bound, work-bound with future educational plans, and work-bound but unsure/undecided about postsecondary education), and each group was compared to college-bound rural youth using results from a recent national investigation of the educational and occupational aspirations of rural youth. Results indicated that the majority of rural youth in this study planned to continue their education after high school (56%), followed by 34% who planned to work and further their education. Results of logistic regression analysis indicated that family characteristics and students’ schooling experiences were the strongest predictors of work-bound status. Work-bound youth were more likely to report greater family economic hardship, lower parental expectations for completing college, and more negative schooling experiences than college-bound rural youth. Acknowledgements: This research was supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (R305A04056) awarded to the NRCRES at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the granting agency.

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