Date of Award
Administrative and Instructional Leadership
Katherine C Aquino
Juanita Cepeda Winfield
This study examined Career and Technical Education (CTE) teachers’ perceptions of the role and application of soft skills content within CTE and students' career planning. This qualitative multiple case study utilized artifact collection, document analysis, and personal interviews of CTE teachers from three high schools in Suffolk County, Long Island, New York. Participants had between ten to twenty-three years of teaching experience, either in Business or Technology Education. This study investigated CTE teachers’ perspectives regarding the importance of soft skills within CTE curricula, strategies for soft skills implementation, and examined any differences in the implementation of soft skills in different CTE areas. Research has indicated that employers have difficulty finding workers with appropriate soft skills contributing to a skills gap in the workforce. The findings of this study revealed that the experiential learning component within CTE courses provides a unique opportunity for students to develop soft skills that they can use in college and future careers. Exposing students to soft skills taught in CTE courses can serve as a way to fill the skills gap noted by employers. Soft skills are not always specifically taught as a topic in CTE courses but are often incorporated into the curriculum. Participants effectively implemented soft skills consistently across different CTE areas. They found the soft skills of communication, critical thinking, and creativity to be the most important for their students to demonstrate. The nature of CTE provides teachers with autonomy in lesson planning and teaching. CTE teachers value the ability to demonstrate creativity in the classroom but would benefit from updated CTE curriculum, mandatory CTE courses, and opportunities for more diversity within CTE programs. These findings could be significant for future research focused on the evaluation of soft skills within other CTE areas, CTE student outcomes, CTE curricula and standards development, and the role of CTE within professional organizations.
Matthews, Alison, "CHANGING PERCEPTIONS OF CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION (CTE): BRIDGING THE SOFT SKILLS GAP WITH HIGH QUALITY CTE" (2022). Theses and Dissertations. 385.