Bridging School and Work: A Person-in-Context Model for Enabling Resilience in At-Risk Youth

  • Christopher DeLuca
  • Nancy L. Hutchinson
  • Joan Versnel
  • Jennifer Dods
  • Peter Chin


The world faces a growing youth employment crisis: worldwide, young people are three times as likely to be unemployed as adults; and unemployment in youth leads to social exclusion, poor mental and physical health, social unrest, and a pattern of labor disengagement. Research has shown that young people who are at risk of unsuccessful school-to-work transitions experience school as an adverse context. Work-based education (WBE) is one of the most frequently recommended solutions for engaging young people in school while providing a basis for successful transition into meaningful employment. However, while there have been many practical efforts to implement transition systems for at-risk students in a wide range of contexts, there has been limited theoretical accounts of the mechanisms and structures that facilitate successful transitions for vulnerable students. The purpose of this chapter is to develop a person-in-context model with three overlapping domains―the individual, the social-cultural, and the economic-political―that addresses how WBE can promote a context of resilience for at-risk students. Specifically, WBE is held to provide a protective context that enables young people to navigate and negotiate influential facets within each of these domains as they transition from school-to-work. Our practical goal in developing this model is to address the vexing question: Which WBE programs are most likely to lead at-risk students to successful transitions into meaningful work?


Labor Market Young People Successful Transition Meaningful Work Labor Market Attachment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This chapter is from the Co-operative Education Workplace Learning Group’s research program, “Individual and contextual factors in work-based education programs: Diverting at-risk youth from the path to social exclusion,” funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher DeLuca
    • 1
  • Nancy L. Hutchinson
    • 1
  • Joan Versnel
    • 2
  • Jennifer Dods
    • 1
  • Peter Chin
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of EducationQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanada
  2. 2.School of Occupational TherapyDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada

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