Investigations of Social Influences on
Upward-Bound Students Occupational Choices
The Upward Bound program, like the Head Start program and other progressive educational programs, was designed to improve the academic performance of students who needed enrichment in their educational process. It was designed to improve current academic performance as well as set the stage for students to attend postsecondary institutions and succeed there. However, the research on the effectiveness of the program in general has shown mixed results. There are other influences operating on Upward Bound students and some of these will be explored in the following pages in terms of occupational choices. The intent is to look at the background of the Upward Bound program, achievements of the program, and social influences on participants, along with research on occupational choice-making.
The story of Upward Bound begins with the War on Poverty and legislation signed by Lyndon Johnson in 1964. The Economic Opportunity Act established an office of Economic Opportunity and special Programs for Students from Disadvantaged Backgrounds (often known as the TRIO programs). The first TRIO program was actually Upward Bound, followed by Talent Search. These were followed by Student Support Services program and Educational Opportunity Centers. Following that, The Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program was established in 1986, with the final piece of the program being the Upward Bound Math/Science Program, administered with the rest of the Upward Bound programs (McElroy and Armesto, 1998).
Eligibility for participation in these programs was established firmly by the reauthorization of the HEA in 1980 and emphasized two concepts. First, students were anticipated to be the first in their families to pursue higher education. Second, the student's previous performance was considered in allowing for admission. Wolanin (1996) noted ...