A comparative study of concerns and expectations of coordinators and employers for selected cooperative work experience programs in Oregon community colleges Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/tt44pr23r

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  • The goal of this research was to identify those program elements and their levels of fulfillment in community college cooperative education programs which are essential if the success of an employer's contribution to a student's training is to be reasonably assured. The primary purpose was to determine if statistically significant differences in the perceptions of employers' concerns and expectations existed between the employers and the coordinators who have participated in community college work experience programs. Specifically, the objectives of this study were to: (1) determine, using the Delphi technique, a consensus by experts from business and industry on the identification and delineation of the concerns and expectations an employer might have about continuing company participation; (2) develop a survey questionnaire based on the consensus of the Delphi panel; and (3) determine by the analysis of the questionnaire's recorded data if there were differences among the perceptions of the training sponsors and coordinators regarding their expectation, concern, expectation fulfillment, and concern alleviation. The Procedures The study's instrument was developed by a review of the literature, a consensus of 10 Delphi panelists from business and industry, a pilot test, and a California employer mini-profile and information base. Divided into five categories, the instrument consisted of 51 statements of which each was accompanied by two six-point Likert type scales, ranging from 5.0, very high, to 0.0, none: one, for expectation, and the other, for its level of fulfillment. The sample for the study consisted of 54 randomly selected, participating employers and 59 percent of the post-secondary coordinator population. The respondents were selected from lists supplied by the program directors of eight of 13 community colleges which offered their students 15 or more separate cooperative work experience programs. The t statistic was used to determine contrasts among the mean scores of the two groups of respondents for each program element at the .05 level. Boole's inequality was also utilized to provide a refined estimate of the significance probability for each of the study's four null hypothesis tests. Thus, these probabilities evolved from not just the degrees of freedom but also the questionnaire's number of statements. In each category, the Spearman rho rank-difference coefficient was used to identify relationships between the ranking of the program elements by both groups. The hypothesis tests for zero correlation were conducted at the .05 level. Selected Findings and Conclusions The results of the t tests indicated that substantial differences existed among Oregon's training sponsors and coordinators regarding their perceptions of concern, expectation, and expectation fulfillment. Furthermore, each of the program elements evidenced significant concern. In concern alleviation, however, the responses of both groups were generally alike. Only three elements were found which indicated a significant difference between the groups in the effort required to eliminate concern. A ranking of the program elements in each of the five categories by their highest and lowest mean expectation scores showed that the training sponsors and coordinators scored 17 elements above 4.0 and 27 elements between 3.5 and 4.0. The hypothesis tests for zero correlation indicated a significant relationship for the elements of program planning. However, no other relationships were found in the four remaining categories of elements. The program element which was judged highest in expectation by both groups of respondents stated that both suitable academic experience and practical work experience are necessary to develop a well-rounded student who is prepared for employment. The element which was scored as least beneficial by the training sponsors stated that training sponsors and their companies should receive recognition for their participation in work experience programs.
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