Date of Graduation

5-2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Human Resource and Workforce Development (EdD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders

Advisor

Carsten Schmidtke

Committee Member

Jules Beck

Second Committee Member

Ketevan Mamiseishvili

Keywords

Arkansas, Career Readiness Certificate, Pre-employment screening, WorkKeys, workplace readiness

Abstract

At a statewide level in Arkansas, the Arkansas Career Readiness Certificate (ACRC) is marketed as a means for assessing and exhibiting individual worker skill levels and as an additional aggregate credential to be presented alongside high school and college degree attainment levels. Employers from multiple sectors use the ACRC as a pre-hire screening tool and to determine incumbent worker eligibility for advancement.

Despite having been in place in the state for nearly a decade with over 65,000 Arkansans earning an ACRC, prior to this study no research had been conducted to determine the effectiveness of the ACRC as a pre-hire screening tool. The research question of this study focused on the silver-level ACRC and the perception of human resource managers at manufacturing firms in Arkansas regarding the certificate’s influence on hiring higher-performing employees. The study sought out the managers’ perceptions related to employee safety, productivity, and retention.

Data collection for this mixed methods study was conducted in two phases. The first phase included an online quantitative survey of 23 human resource managers at manufacturing firms in Arkansas. The second phase included in-person interviews of a subset of the original survey participants. Nine interviews were conducted to further explore the issues of employee safety, productivity, and retention as related to the ACRC.

Findings from the study concluded that use of the silver-level Arkansas Career Readiness Certificate as a pre-hire screening tool does lead to hiring higher performing employees. This study further concluded that employee productivity is positively impacted more than safety or retention, and that overall performance of employees with the certificate was improved as compared to those without it.

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