- Two-year chemistry-based technology training (CBTT) programs in the U.S. are important in the preparation of the professional technical workforce. The purpose of this study was to identify, examine, and analyze factors related to the economic sustainability of CBTT programs. A review of literature identified four clustered categories of 31 sub-factors related to program sustainability. Three research questions relating to program sustainability were: (1) What is the relative importance of the identified factors?, (2) What differences exist between the opinions of administrators and faculty?, and (3) What are the interrelationships among the factors? In order to answer these questions, survey data gathered from CBTT programs throughout the United States were analyzed statistically. Conclusions included the following:
Rank order of the importance to sustainability of the clustered categories was: (1) Partnerships, (2) Employer and Student Educational Goals, (3) Faculty and
Their Resources, and (4) Community Perceptions and Marketing Strategies. Significant correlations between ratings of sustainability and the sub-factors included: degree of partnering, college responsiveness, administration involvement in partnerships, experiential learning opportunities, employer input in curriculum development, use of skill standards, number of program graduates, student job placement, professional development opportunities, administrator support, presence of a champion, flexible scheduling, program visibility, perception of chemical technicians, marketing plans, and promotion to secondary students. Faculty and administrators differed significantly on only two sub-factor ratings: employer assisted curriculum development, and faculty workloads. Significant differences in ratings by small program faculty and administrators and large program faculty and administrators were indicated, with most between small program faculty and large program administrators.
The study concluded with suggestions for educators, employers, professional organizations, and legislators. These suggestions included: Educators should work collaboratively in partnerships to encourage employer input, internships, and job placement of graduates. Programs should be supported by administrators and continued outside resources. Professional development opportunities should be afforded to faculty, along with reasonable workloads. Programs need high
community visibility and should be promoted to secondary students. Finally, program size should be considered when adopting strategies for CBTT program sustainability.