As an increasing number of students engage in part-time or full-time work while attending school, this research aims to better understand the worker lens of low-income, first-generation, full-time community college students. Managing completion pressures and expectations for community college students requires a rethinking and understanding of who the working student is and how to combine a high respect for work with strong academic motivation. Through the process of narrative inquiry, this research study highlighted the voices of 59 community college students who sought to integrate both work and school in their lives given that both fulfilled unique roles and aspirations; and through their stories confirmed that work does not serve as a distraction but rather supports a central identity and role for low-income young adults. Students who valued school and work equally prided themselves on their work ethic, irrespective of type of work and their contribution to their families. School was also valued and was the link to long-term career goals, with students relying heavily on their learning community for support. Community colleges that seek workforce partners and/or greater curriculum alignment are needed to capture the interest and encourage persistence and completion of low-income, first-generation students who manifest a worker lens.
|Advisor:||Harper, Shaun R.|
|Commitee:||Harper, Shaun R., Kanter, Martha, Kaplan, Eric|
|School:||University of Pennsylvania|
|Department:||Higher Education Administration|
|School Location:||United States -- Pennsylvania|
|Source:||DAI-A 78/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational leadership, Education Policy, School administration|
|Keywords:||Community college students, First-generation, Low-income, Working student|
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