Midlife work pathways and educational entry
This study examines how work pathways intersect with the pursuit of education and vocational training at midlife. The authors link two waves of the National Survey of Families and Households (NSFH) to focus on respondents ages 42 to 62 at the second wave (1992-94; n = 3,417). First, they differentiate work pathways by examining sequences of employment and nonemployment or unemployment spells. It is found that initial inequalities in educational attainment are amplified and increase over the life course, in a nonlinear manner. Work discontinuity is significantly related to poor health, lack of pensions, and life trajectories marked by low socioeconomic status. Gender, race, and life-course events also influence work mobility. In turn, educational reentry and training at midlife are associated with resources, work pathway type, and early educational achievement. The interdependence of work pathways and midlife educational reentry patterns may further differentiate the trajectories between work and retirement in future older cohorts.
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