Graduation Year

2008

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Adult, Career, and Higher Education

Major Professor

Donald Dellow, Ed D.

Keywords

Technical programs, Occupational programs, Intercultural skills, Global skills, Needs assessment

Abstract

Significance: This study provides the first systematic needs assessment of a U.S. business region to determine if businesses want international skills taught in community college technical and occupational programs. Without this assessment, community college leaders and faculty are not able to determine whether they are adequately preparing students in these skills to be successful in tomorrow's fast paced, mobile and integrated global workforce. Research Aims: 1. Conduct a needs assessment to determine whether international skills were considered important for employment entry or movement 2. Determine where businesses obtain international skills training. 3. Garner business recommendations for the improvement of international skills education in community college technical and occupational programs.

Research Questions: 1. What international skills do surveyed U.S. business and industry executives believe are important for the sub-baccalaureate technical/occupational employees that they hire and promote? 2. How do surveyed U.S. business and industry executives engage their companies' sub-baccalaureate technical/occupational employees in international skills training programs? 3. How do surveyed business and industry executives think U.S. community college technical/occupational degree programs should change with respect to their international skills objectives? Methods: This study utilized a researcher created and empirically validated survey and two focus groups. The survey was sent to 1,920 businesses randomly sampled from Tampa Bay's 64,000 businesses. Response data from 145 returned questionnaires were analyzed and then discussed by business and community college focus groups.

Findings: 1. Appreciation of Cross Cultural Differences and Foreign Language Skills were rated significantly (p< [or] = .05) higher higher in importance than other international skills. 2. Businesses utilize in-house trainers more often than any other type of training resource for international training. Community Colleges are rarely used as a training resource for international skills. 3. Community colleges should investigate whether to increase their academic outreach to businesses, mandate foreign language training in programs, and emphasize learning about other world areas in the curriculum. 4. Nation-wide surveys of Fortune 500 firms to determine international business practices and training needs may not translate to regional business communities.

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