How can education prepare students for the skilled technical workforce?

Our research examines the role of technician education in community colleges across fields, including information technology and manufacturing, as well as the role of four-year institutions in preparing students for science, engineering, and technician fields of study and employment.  

Current projects on STEM and Technician Education
The Hidden Innovation Infrastructure: Understanding the Economic Development Role of Tech. Ed. in the Changing Future of Work

Technicians are essential to the functioning of the innovation economy, but the important role they play is often unrecognized. This study will examine the economic development impact of community college technician education and the Advanced Technological Education program in the context of the changing nature of work.
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Pathways to Science and Engineering Professions: Persistence and Career Choice

What determines whether students pursue bachelor’s or master’s degrees in the biosciences and engineering to later enter careers in these fields? This project will examine the critical choice points in the pathway students take through college and into occupations in these two professions.
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Pathways into Careers in Information Technology: Community College Student Decision Making About Academic Programs and Jobs

Community colleges offer many program and career opportunities in the field of information technology (IT). This project examines how students’ experiences and information resources influence their decision-making and how that evolves over time.
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RU Yes Evaluation

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Past projects on STEM and Technician Education
EU Research Study on Vocational Education: International Perspectives on Preparing Technicians for the Future of Work

The changing nature of work requires that the U.S. education system must prepare skilled technicians who can function in an increasingly complex environment using diverse platforms and systems.

Vocational education models in Europe offer one way to explore how to prepare students for the future of work. This research project reviewed European practices in technical education that are replicable in associate degree programs in the United States and developed benchmark models that prepare students for the changing workplace.

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Transforming Post-Secondary Education in Mathematics Research

Students who major in math in college are often unaware of the many ways the discipline can be applied in real-world situations and the range of career opportunities in the field.


This study includes qualitative research on selected math programs throughout the country to identify best practices for reforming math education and preparing students for math-related careers. The project was conducted by the Rutgers Education & Employment Research Center (EERC), which was contracted by Transforming Post-Secondary Education in Mathematics (TPSE Math), an organization dedicated to enhancing math education in two- and four-year colleges.

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STEM Pathways Analysis

Community colleges play a key role in educating technicians who comprise the “T” category in STEM fields. What is often overlooked is the dual function of community colleges in providing science and technology education for STEM students enrolled in four-year schools.

This study is the first examination of the ways in which four-year STEM students use community colleges to further their education. The findings offer opportunities to better address the needs of four-year STEM students who “reverse transfer” to community colleges or who take courses concurrently at both types of institutions.

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