The purpose of this mixed methods case-study was to understand why students enroll in the Community Involvement work-study program, why employers continue to host students, and what are the parents’ perceptions of their child’s experience. The following research question framed this study: What is the perceived impact of the Community Involvement Program?
Five additional questions further guided this study: 1. Why do students enroll in the Community Involvement Program? 2. What impact does enrolling in a work-study program have for participating students? 3. What motivates employers to become a volunteer host site for Community Involvement students? 4. What impact do parents perceive when their son or daughter participates in the Community Involvement Program? 5. How do students enrolled in the Community Involvement Program compare to those students who are not enrolled in the program based on GPAs, attendance patterns, and postsecondary plans?
This study examined the perceptions of the students, employers, parents, the instructor and the high school principal. Qualitative methods included open-ended surveys, interviews, focus groups, and student artifacts. Quantitative methods included analyzing Likert-type survey questions and archival data (GPAs, attendance patterns, and postsecondary plans). The findings will provide those involved in the education and workforce communities with insight into why students and employers continue to enroll in and support work-study programming.
The research study concluded that students, employers, parents, the instructor and the principal all found benefit in the Community Involvement Program. The study also confirmed the positive impact on GPAs, school attendance and postsecondary enrollment noted in the previous work-study literature. Seniors enrolled in the work-study program at Fulton High School had significantly higher GPAs, fewer absences, and were more likely to enroll in a two- or four-year postsecondary program as compared to seniors not enrolled. The students also shared that they believe the Community Involvement Program provided career exploration opportunities, lessons about work environment, lessons about postsecondary planning, and the development of meaningful relationships which impacted their future. Employers host students because they want to support the school and local community, see a positive impact on their work environment, find future employees, and develop meaningful relationships with the students. Parents noted that Community Involvement Program positively impacted their child’s career and postsecondary decisions, their children learned valuable work lessons, and developed relationships with employers that impacted career and college decisions. Each of the participants including the instructor and principal suggested expanding the program to all juniors and offer the program during the summer. Recommendations based on the findings included: 1) more high schools should offer work-study programs for one or two semesters to juniors and seniors, 2) encourage employers to host and expand opportunities for students, 3) hire students who participate, and 4) promote work-study opportunities in the community and schools.
|Commitee:||Sadler, Sterling, Sheng, Bridget, Yager, Stuart|
|School:||Western Illinois University|
|School Location:||United States -- Illinois|
|Source:||DAI-A 80/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Education Policy, Vocational education|
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