EXAMINING EDUCATORS‘ AND EMPLOYERS‘ PERCEPTIONS ON CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION GRADUATES‘ EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS FOR THE LABOR MARKET IN JORDAN

Open Access
Author:
Al-Alawneh, Muhammad Khaled
Graduate Program:
Workforce Education and Development
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
September 03, 2009
Committee Members:
  • Professor Edgar I Farmer, Dissertation Advisor
  • Edgar I Farmer Sr., Committee Chair
  • William J Rothwell, Committee Member
  • Edgar Paul Yoder, Committee Member
  • Richard Allen Walter, Committee Member
Keywords:
  • Employability Skills
  • Career and Technical Education
  • Labor market in Jordan
Abstract:
Preparing skilled and knowledgeable workforce that fits the labor market requires continued collaboration between education and work. Studying educators‘ and employers‘ perspectives on technical and non-technical skills may result in improving the quality of the graduates to compete on the level of the local as well as the global labor market. According to Gray and Herr (1998), if workforce education is to be effective, work preparation cannot be restrained to technical content alone, but must also equip students with employability skills as well. The purpose of this study is to investigate educators and employers‘ perceptions on employability skills of graduates from career and technical education institutions as perceived by both educators and employers. The study also examined if there are any differences in perceptions on employability skills among employers on assigned variables on the one hand, and if there are any differences in perceptions among educators on the same assigned variables on the other hand. Data for this study were collected via validated and reliability tested questionnaire. The survey included three employability skills domains: fundamental skills, personal management skills, and teamwork skills. Responses were 106 of 170 educators and 101 of 180 employers as 59 percent rate of return of 350 distributed questionnaires. Collected data were analyzed by using the SPSS 18.0 statistical software. Analysis of Variances (ANOVA) statistical technique was used to answer the three null hypotheses of this study. However, descriptive statistics were used to provide more information about employers and educators‘ needs of employability skills and about Jordan‘s labor market. ii The findings of this study show that there are no significant differences between employers‘ and educators‘ perceptions on graduates of career and technical education in terms of fundamental skills and personal management skills. However, the results show significant differences between the two groups on teamwork skills. Overall results of null hypothesis one (H1) show that there is a significant difference between the two groups of study. This hypothesis was rejected. In terms of the differences within the two groups on the assigned variables (H 2 and H 3), the study found no significant differences within educators on the assigned variables, and no significant differences within employers on the assigned variables as well. Those two null hypotheses were supported. Further, short answer responses suggested different types of employability skills that are needed by both educators and employers. This study confirmed that Jordan‘s labor market is in critical need of two major skills it lacks: computer application skills and English language skills. Moreover, open-ended questions related to Jordan‘s labor market revealed important information that could benefit education and the labor market. The study concluded with a discussion that includes comparing the results to the literature and comparing the assumptions to the findings of this study and recommendations and implications for educators and the curriculum, for employers, and for future research along with the limitations of this study.