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ERIC Number: ED531850
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 216
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1094-2950-3
An Examination of Community College Occupational Programs and Their Role in Equipping Students with the Necessary Skills to Supply the Demand for High-Demand Middle-Skill Jobs
Blackman, Orville G.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Louisville
This study addresses the fundamental question, "Are Kentucky's public community and technical colleges training enough students with the relevant skills to fill job openings in Kentucky's middle-skill jobs?" By examining student interests in occupational programs, labor market demand for trained middle-skill employees, and their relationship to 10 occupational programs offered at the 16 KCTCS colleges, I explored the contribution that the KCTCS was making in helping Kentucky to achieve national and global economic competitiveness. Two research questions guided this study. Question one was: What was the relationship between labor market demand, student interest, and college program offerings? Question two was: Why do colleges offer programs that do not reflect either student demand, or labor market demand; or neither? The quantitative method in this mixed method analysis was a time series analysis. The qualitative method was interviews with twelve KCTCS academic deans and department chairs. Findings located differences in student interests and labor market demand in different programs. Results indicated that five of the occupational programs were over-supplying the number of qualified students when compared to the annual number of openings in the corresponding jobs. The remaining five occupational programs did not meet the immediate labor market demand, but the numbers of students enrolled in the programs suggested that if all students completed, the labor market needs would be adequately addressed. Major challenges in determining how well enrollments and completions predicted that KCTCS programs would satisfy labor market demand included the high drop-out rates in some programs, and the inability to track whether students were pursuing occupations for which they were certified. Qualitative findings explained why some of the quantitative results could not be accepted wholesale without understanding some of the underlying factors that affected how the awarding adequate numbers of credentials did not always translate into meeting labor market demand. This study emphasized the importance of internal and external stakeholders working together to assist the Commonwealth of Kentucky in achieving its economic goals. Balancing community needs with state economic goals is essential to meeting the long term objectives for which the KCTCS college system was established. Failure to adequately monitor how well the occupational programs were meeting labor market needs may lead to the undesirable effect of certifying students for jobs that are unavailable. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Kentucky