Date of Graduation

12-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Workforce Development Education (EdD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders

Advisor

Bobbie Biggs

Committee Member

Jules Beck

Second Committee Member

Kit Kacirik

Keywords

Education; Adult; Career; Career and technical education; Education; Human resources; Technical; Workforce

Abstract

ABSTRACT

The current research, The Adult Workers' Perceptions of the Residual Effects of Secondary Career Technical Education, asks the question: Are adult workers in the implementation and stabilization stages of career development influenced by their former experiences in the secondary career technical education (CTE) centers? Based on the theoretical foundations of Super's theory of career development and Mezirow's theory of transformative learning, the purpose of this sequential, mixed-methods relational study was to investigate the adult worker's perceptions of prior engagement in career technical educational opportunities. Examining the relationships between the CTE experiences and the adult worker's progression through the career development stages of crystallization, specification, implementation and stabilization was useful in identifying strategies that contributed to academic, personal and professional success.

The research was completed in two phases. Phase One population of the study included the twenty-four Arkansas area secondary technical education centers, which were comparatively analyzed using extant data from the Arkansas Department of Career Education. Divided into geographic regions, 18 of the centers were defined as top-performers, as measured by student performance success indicators found in the extant database. Phase Two included interviewing 29 adult workers who had completed programs of study in the participating centers during the academic years 2003-2004 and 2004-2005. In this phase, the researcher gathered quantitative data in the form of interviewee and secondary center demographics. Qualitative data were gathered via the interview guide questions that encouraged critical reflection about the participants' secondary CTE experiences, career pathways, adult learning opportunities, current perceptions of accomplishments and those responsible for perceived success.

The results of the current study are discussed in both statistical quantitative analyses and qualitative findings. Several statistically-significant, albeit weak, relationships were found between CTE experiences and current outcomes. The qualitative data, however, was much more reflective of the practically-significant long-term benefits found in the CTE experiences of the interviewed population. As the results are not generalizable to the overall population, further research with a larger study sample is warranted.

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