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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Rutgers Study Examines Injuries and Costs Associated with Young Workers in Career-Technical-Vocational Education

A Rutgers School of Public Health study suggested there are more career-technical-vocational education (CTE) injuries among school districts with lower per pupil spending (PPS) than among school districts with higher PPS over a long time period.

Adolescents and young adults age 21 and younger are an already susceptible, vulnerable subpopulation. Thus, their unintentional injuries are ongoing public health concerns. Indicators of available resources such as per pupil spending (PPS), class size, teachers (e.g., numbers or teacher-to-student ratio), and curriculum are factors that potentially influence the safety and health outcomes among students. Several of these factors also relate to socioeconomic status (SES) indicators.

The study, led by Dr. Derek Shendell, associate professor of environmental and occupational health at the Rutgers School of Public Health and director of the New Jersey Safe Schools Program, examined the potential associations of PPS with several variables on injury in New Jersey including: injury cause, injury location on the body, injury type, injury severity, use of personal protective equipment (PPE), and location of treatment for injury.

Dr. Shendell along with his colleagues, Ms. Saisattha Noomnual, Dr. Jesse Plascak, and Ms. Alexsandra A. Apostolico, analyzed PPS data for December 1998–June 2015 from CTE school districts (one per NJ county, n = 21), four charter school districts, and eight county special services districts. The researchers found that relatively less severe injuries, like bruise/bumps and cuts/lacerations, more often occurred with higher PPS. Conversely, relatively more severe injuries like fractures, more often occurred with lower PPS.

“Our study suggests indicators of lower SES, like PPS, may be associated with CTE students being more likely to experience reportable injuries,” comments Dr. Shendell.

“The results from this study provide further insight on the types of reportable injuries experienced by CTE students, and how these injuries differ by SES indicators,” comments Ms. Apostolico. “This knowledge is the first step in strengthening safety and prevention measures among CTE students.”

Injuries among young workers in career-technical-vocational education and associations with per pupil spending,” was recently published in in BMC Public Health.