An analysis of the effect self-efficacy has on interest for urban minority students toward an agricultural major/career
Settle, Quisto Dossey
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The agriculture industry is facing a need for qualified workers while colleges of agriculture, which are the primary sources of these qualified workers, are also facing declining enrollments. In order to amend this problem, it has been suggested that increasing the number of non-traditional students (ethnic minorities with little-to-no experience in agriculture) could be a potential solution. One of the areas of consideration is the self-efficacy and career interest levels of these students. This study sought to answer the question of what effect would a workshop in agricultural communications have on participants’ levels of self-efficacy and career interest for agriculture? At three locations, a five-day workshop was conducted with lessons in risk/crisis communications, photography, video, news writing, and Web design. At two locations, students did not have access to formal instruction in agriculture-related content, while the third location included students at an agriculture high school Participants’ levels of self-efficacy and career interest were assessed before and after the workshop to assess any changes. It was found that two of the three workshops were effective at increasing self-efficacy and career interest levels of participants while the third, consisting of students from an agricultural high school, didn’t show the same improvements. The results suggest that the students’ characteristics and prior experience were not responsible for most of the changes, leading to the conclusion that it was likely the workshop. It was recommended to create more permanent agricultural institutions, such as agriculture programs in high schools and 4-H clubs, to increase urban, minority participation in agriculture. In the mean time, workshops and programs that serve as introductions to agriculture should continue.