Workforce training processes: Perceptions of community college workforce development administrators of their community partnerships

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2020-05

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Abstract

Workforce education has been a staple of the community college since the early dawn of the junior college but flourished after WWII. The needs of the workforce in 2020 in many cases requires postsecondary training to perform many of the technical tasks found in the workforce. The success of the American workforce depends upon numerous factors, employee training is near the pinnacle of this list. The delivery of workforce training at the community college has far reaching effects on the success of the communities that they serve. Collaboration between the college and the community workforce leaders is paramount to ensure that the courses that are delivered to students meets their needs for entry level employees. Collaboration between these partners also provides upward mobility pathways for the community workforce partners. The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions and experiences of community college workforce development administrations about their partnership with local business and industry partners. Of specific interest were how workforce development administrators respond to local community needs through their collaborations with local industry partners, how collaborations with industry partners affect college programs, and the best practices used to build effective collaborative partnerships between community colleges and local industries. The study was guided by three research questions.
This qualitative, multiple case study was conducted through the lens of the constructivist paradigm. The study setting was six Texas public community colleges located in rural, suburban, and urban areas of the state. Data collection for this study was conducted through semi-structured interviews, field notes, and electronic documents. Data collected was analyzed using the constant comparative method as well as open and axial coding. Study trustworthiness was assured through measures of credibility, confirmability, dependability, and confirmability of the study processes and findings. The study findings were that collaborative partnerships must be both collaborative and complementary, program advisory boards are a resource for information and solving challenges, interactive and participative relationships need to be encouraged, colleges need to be outreach motivated, essential needs of work partners should be a priority, flexible program delivery methods and ability to project needs are imperative to successful partnerships, impact of workforce training delivery must be evaluated, and short- and long-range program planning is required to meet business and industry needs.
The results of the study lead to implications and recommendations for higher education practice. Collaborative partnerships are essential to good communication of workforce training needs with community workforce employers. The use of program advisory identify the essential skills and knowledge that is needed for industry remain current in college training programs. Additionally, meeting the essential training needs of workforce employers requires frequent communication and interaction with local workforce employers.
The recommendations for higher educations practice based on the findings of this study are that the community college should strive to maintain a collaborative relationship with their workforce employer partners. The second recommendation for higher education practice includes the use of program advisory boards to identify the essential skills needed by local workforce employees for each industry. The third recommendation for higher education practice is that meeting the essential training needs of local employers requires frequent communication with those employers. The final recommendation for higher education practice is short- and long-range training schedules are essential for employers to meet their common training needs that are delivered by the community college. The findings of the study lead to possible future research. A qualitative study where college workforce administrators explore the use of collaborative partnerships by workforce development departments and their local workforce employers to define training needs could lead to a better understanding of collaborative partnerships. Second, a study that focuses on use of program advisory boards how these boards operate with or without board by-laws, and operating procedures is needed. Third, a study that is focused on defining the essential needs of industry sectors that are universally accepted for entry level workforce training programs that may be delivered by the community college is needed. Last, a study is recommended is to explore the use of short- and long-range training plans or schedules that are commonly utilized by community college workforce development departments within the state of Texas for commonalities that can be replicated by other colleges within the state and abroad.

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Keywords

Workforce training processes, Community college workforce administrators, Workforce training, Workforce development administrators, Community partnerships

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