Adding International Perspectives to Vocational Education Essay

Adding International Perspectives to Vocational Education Essay

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Adding International Perspectives to Vocational Education


International work opportunities are increasing as the borders of the U.S. economy expand to embrace international markets. Future workers will need to develop global awareness and an understanding of competitive, cultural, and economic factors that influence ways of doing business in order to work in the international arena. This Digest examines the instructional approaches and strategies used in vocational education to prepare students to work in a global environment.

The Industrial Age expanded the vision of U.S. workers beyond their local communities to the country's national borders. The current Information Age moves the focus to global boundaries. To meet the competitive challenges of a global economy, businesses are looking for workers who have cross-cultural knowledge; intercultural communication skills, and an awareness of the political, geographical, and technological conditions that influence work in other countries (Hart et al. 1994; Philpott 1994). In a survey to elicit chief executive officers' expectations of collegiate international business preparation, "84% of the chief executive officers indicated that 'global awareness' is a key ingredient of international business expertise" (Hart et al. 1994, p. 104).

The preparation of individuals for work in a global economy is a challenge to educational institutions. Considering the limited international experience of most students, the challenge is formidable. Smith and Steward (1995) contrast the cross-cultural education experiences of U.S. students to those of students from other countries. They note that "currently there are 240,000 Asians studying in the U.S. and less than 5,000 U. S. students stud...


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...chool, and Community." Business Education Forum 49, no. 3 (February 1995): 44-47.

Pachnowski, L. "The Internet: A Powerful Resource for Educators." Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Eastern Educational Research Association, Boston, MA, February 1996. (ED 393 447)

Philpott, M. "Business Beyond Our Borders: An Integrated Approach." Business Education Forum 48, no. 3 (February 1994): 21-25.

Smith, M. O., and Steward, J. F. "Communication for a Global Economy." Business Education Forum 49, no. 4 (April 1995): 25-28.

Sutliff, L. "The English Translation." Vocational Education Journal 71, no. 4 (April 1996): 38-39, 57.

Wismer, J. N. "Training for Trade: Role of American Community Colleges." Paper presented at a conference of the American Council on International and Intercultural Education, Colorado Springs, CO, April 21, 1994. (ED 371 789)

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