Date of Award

January 2011

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

James S. Rinehart

Department Affiliation

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Abstract

This research attempted to answer whether or not career and technical education (CTE) in a section of Kentucky's Appalachian Region was meeting the employment needs of local business and industry through appropriate program alignment and provision of 21st century soft skills. This study utilized a quantitative approach devoid of researcher invention. Job quotients were used as a measure of program alignment. Job quotients were calculated using the number of jobs available in particular labor markets as the numerator and the aggregate enrollment of respective CTE programs as the denominator. A job quotient of one demonstrates alignment in that a position in the industry exists for every student receiving training. Alignment is critical for business and industry to have access to a trained labor force and critical to students entering the workforce to be able to find jobs. Realizing the importance of soft skills in the 21st century as well as technical skills, this study analyzed the passage rate of the Kentucky Occupational Skills Standards Assessment (KOSSA) as a measure of 21st century soft skills.

Findings from the study demonstrated broad inconsistencies in job quotients with some CTE program enrollments greater than industry needs and others smaller than industry needs. Findings from KOSSA rates revealed significant inconsistencies in soft skill attainment among programs and did not reveal consistent growth toward proficiency. The study concluded KOSSA passage rates did not demonstrate student proficiency in soft skills.

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