Sub-baccalaureate Career and Technical Education: A Study of Institutional Practices, Labor Market Demand, and Student Outcomes in Florida

Researchers are conducting a mixed methods study to understand the extent to which sub-baccalaureate institutions’ practices to align career and technical education (CTE) programming to labor market demand are associated with student outcomes. Researchers are first administering a statewide survey to catalog the institutional practices that Florida community and technical colleges use to align their CTE programming to the local labor markets. The project team will combine the survey data with labor market data and student-level data to examine the relationship between institutional practices, labor market demand in students’ geographical areas, and students’ participation, concentration, and completion in CTE programs. The team will also conduct case studies of select Florida community and technical colleges to describe the practices cited in the survey data and to develop a deeper understanding of the institutions’ processes for aligning CTE courses and programs with local labor market demand, with a focus on challenges related to pandemic recovery.

The quantitative analysis will include four longitudinal cohorts of approximately 160,000 students each who enrolled in the Florida College System and district technical colleges from 2016–2017 to 2020–2021. Researchers will use a series of descriptive analyses to describe and catalog the institutional practices from the statewide survey. Researchers will then conduct a descriptive analysis of pre/post pandemic trends and use a series of linear probability models to understand the degree to which variation in student outcomes can be predicted by institutional factors and labor market demand.

This project is supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R305A210289 to WestEd.

Lead Researchers

Angela Estacion is the principal investigator on the project and a senior research associate at WestEd. Estacion’s main areas of research and evaluation include access to and readiness for postsecondary training and education, especially for historically underserved groups and in STEM programs; supporting successful pathways to postsecondary completion; and workforce development.

Dr. Cameron Sublett is an associate professor in Education Leadership & Policy Studies at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, where he is the director of The Education Research & Opportunity Center. His research examines access and success in community colleges. He served for nearly 10 years as a full-time faculty member at Santa Barbara City College – a 2013 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence Co-Winner and Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI).

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