Employers' roles in an innovative adult education program in the northeast: Perspectives from four stakeholder groups

Cynthia Hopkins Scheller, Johnson & Wales University

Abstract

In the United States, workforce development and adult education initiatives have changed dramatically over the past few decades (Comings Reder, & Sum, 2001; Stein, 2000; United States Department of Education, 2003). One frequently identified weak point policymakers have addressed is the need to include employers as stakeholders in these initiatives (Jobs for the Future, 2001; U.S. Department of Education, 2003). Although compelling reasons exist for collaboration, a paradigm shift must occur for this to become reality and develop into common practice (Committee on Education and the Workforce, 2003). ^ A national non-profit educational reform organization proposed to meet this challenge by creating an innovative adult education pilot program in which collaboration between educators and employers was essential. This study examined four stakeholders' views concerning the employers' proposed responsibilities using the following research questions: How is the employers' new role perceived by the adult education program's policy stakeholders: the national non-profit educational reform organization's administrators, State level policy makers, the employers, and the collective bargaining unit representative? What motivations and assumptions support this commitment on behalf of employers? How do the four stakeholder groups view the scope and substance of this commitment? What expectations do the four stakeholder groups have regarding the nature of this collaboration? What expectations do the four stakeholder groups have regarding the outcomes of this collaboration? In what respects are the expectations of the stakeholders aligned? ^ Employing a layered case study approach, the researcher treated each consistent group, the national non-profit educational reform organization's administrators (n = 3), State level policy makers ( n = 3), the employers (n = 3), and the collective bargaining unit representative (n = 1), as separate units of analysis and compared them by performing a cross-case pattern analysis (Patton, 2002). The researcher conducted document analysis and individual interviews. The interview transcripts underwent content analysis in which the researcher discovered emerging patterns, themes, and categories (Patton, 2002). The cross-case analysis of the data revealed that employers should facilitate a learning environment at the workplace, aid in the career advancement of their workers, and partner with other agencies to provide educational services to employees.^

Subject Area

Education, Adult and Continuing|Education, Curriculum and Instruction

Recommended Citation

Cynthia Hopkins Scheller, "Employers' roles in an innovative adult education program in the northeast: Perspectives from four stakeholder groups" (January 1, 2006). Dissertation & Theses Collection. Paper AAI3234952.
http://scholarsarchive.jwu.edu/dissertations/AAI3234952

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