PathTech LISTEN: Mixed Methods Longitudinal Investigations of Students in Technician EducatioN
Producing more middle skills professionals in advanced technology fields is important for the nations' prosperity. To promote greater success in advanced technology education, this project aims to study the relationships between community college attendance and later educational and occupational outcomes. The research team from the University of South Florida and the Florida Technological Education Center at Hillsborough Community College propose extending their current research on school-work-life balance. To accomplish this goal, they will conduct a longitudinal research study that examines the transition from taking community college courses, to attaining associates and baccalaureate degrees, to reaching career goals, such as better pay and job promotion.
The project will increase understanding of issues and challenges involved in the school-work-life balance for students pursuing credentials and careers in advanced technology. A qualitative and quantitative mixed method longitudinal study will examine student life experiences and pathways, from entry to completion of academic programs to entrance into the workforce. The study will address the shortage of information about pre-college and college technician and occupational pathways, and attainment of credentials and post-program outcomes (e.g., careers and employment). The proposed work builds on the first two phases of the PathTech Life study and focuses on Engineering Technology, Advanced Manufacturing, and Biotechnology. The project team will conduct a longitudinal interview study with national scope coupled with the development and administration of a national survey to answer four sets of research questions that examine the connections among school, work, and other life responsibilities: 1. How do students from diverse backgrounds at different life stages experience their advanced technological program? 2. What are students' short-term education goals (i.e., complete specific coursework, earn certificate or degree) and do they accomplish them? 3. What aspects of an advanced technology education programs prepare student to meet their broader educational and employment goals? 4. What program and institutional efforts do colleges employ to increase recruitment, retention, and connections with students from diverse backgrounds? Results of this research can inform improvements to advanced technological education that support greater retention, graduation, and successful entry into the technical workforce.