Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Davis, E. James

Committee Member

Olinzock, Anthony

Committee Member

Adams, Joe

Committee Member

Wiseman, Martin

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Community College Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Instructional Systems, Leadership and Workforce Development


Postsecondary graduates often do not have the skills needed for entry level employment in today’s workforce. Postsecondary students should have a curriculum that is relevant to today’s workforce needs to increase the graduates marketability and success in our global economy. This study examined the workplace readiness skills desired by the high-tech industries in Alabama compared to the perceived importance of those skills from educators in Alabama’s Two-Year College System and the integration of those skills in the curricula. It was believed that there was no significant difference in the perceptions of educators and industry supervisors in reference to their perceptions of workplace skills and integrating those skills into the curricula. A web-based survey was sent to a select group of high-tech industry supervisors and educators from technical programs in Alabama. A total of 161 responses were received from the educator group for a 51% response rate while there were 62 industry supervisors that responded for a 31% response rate. The findings indicate that high-tech firms are looking for people who have basic workplace skills and competencies that include but are not limited to the following: honesty and integrity, service to customers, responsibility, ability to work in teams, listening skills, and the ability to solve problems. There was general agreement among the educators and supervisors on the importance of 22 of the 36 workplace readiness skills. However, for 14 of the workplace readiness skills, there was sufficient evidence to reject the null hypothesis. Industry supervisors indicated that a worker having the following workplace skills were not as important to their operation as the educator group thought they were: 1) selecting materials and facilities usage, 2) acquiring and evaluating information, 3) organizing and maintaining information, 4) understanding systems, 5) selecting technology, 6) maintaining and troubleshooting equipment, 7) reads well, 8) making good decisions, 9) seeing things in the mind’s eye, 10) knows how to learn, 11) knows how to reason, 12) applies technology to tasks, 13) does simple arithmetic, and 14) has self-esteem. Future research is needed to determine whether the findings in this study can be replicated. The researcher recommends expanding the research to include more participants in the study.