Date of Award
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Purpose: The purpose of this mixed methods study is to examine the degree to which Washington State community and technical college workforce education administrators perceive their institutions to be labor market-responsive based on the Community College Labor Market Responsiveness assessment’s seven dimensions of labor market responsiveness (leadership and governance, organizational structure and staffing, organizational culture, resources and funding, information and data, relationship-building, and partnerships) and to explore the factors impacting each of the seven dimensions.
Methodology: This mixed methods study described 39 Washington State community and technical college workforce administrators’ perceptions of community college labor market responsiveness. An explanatory design was employed to collect quantitative data to describe, followed by qualitative data to further explain. Data was collected using a web-based survey instrument with fixed-choice Likert-type and open-ended questions.
Findings: Overall, 62% of workforce educational administrators perceive the community colleges in Washington to be somewhat or almost always labor market responsive. The two most displayed dimensions were leadership and governance and organizational culture, however, the weakest dimension was organizational structure. The most impactful factors identified were: resources, leadership, workforce focus, organizational factors and external engagement. An unexpected finding was the absence of the practitioners’ reference to entrepreneurial characteristics, even though this is emphasized by scholars.
Conclusions: Washington State community and technical colleges are experts in workforce development although many factors impact their ability to effectively respond to labor market needs. This study concludes that Washington State community and technical colleges are perceived to be moderately labor market responsive, yet committed to external relationships and partnerships, and in need of more adequate financial, human and information resources to reach their full potential. Secondly, although there is strong leadership supporting labor market responsiveness efforts, unsupported organizational structures limit their impact. In addition, entrepreneurial approaches are necessary to navigate resource-limited environments and this is not adequately supported by community colleges.
Recommendations: Further research is recommended to include other populations, correlate perceptions with other indicators, and compare perceptions between more than one sample. An exploration of entrepreneurial characteristics and vocational program review processes of community colleges should also be studied.
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Frasier, Erin, "Labor Market Responsiveness of Washington Community & Technical Colleges" (2016). Dissertations. 63.