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
Community College S-STEM Network (CCSN) - Developing & Sharing Research on Low-Income STEM Student Decision-Making & Pathway

This project will look at the decision-making processes of low-income community college students who are in S-STEM education. Students’ decision-making processes while completing STEM programs in community colleges are far from understood. This study, however, will overview the underlying processes behind students’ decisions to go into these programs and the choices they make while continuing their education in S-STEM. It will also take a look at how elements of the S-STEM programs, the institutions themselves, and students’ attributes influence these decisions.

>View more details here.

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 examines the economic development impact of community college technician education and the Advanced Technological Education program in the context of the changing nature of work.

>View more details here.

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 examines the critical choice points in the pathway students take through college and into occupations in these two professions.

>View more details here.

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.

>View more details here.

Past projects on STEM and Technician Education
RU Yes Evaluation

The Rutgers University-Youth Enjoy Science evaluation focuses on evaluating programmatic elements geared toward exposing underrepresented high school and undergraduate students to careers in science that are outside traditional healthcare fields (doctor, nurse, etc). The program focuses on cancer research. It also trains high school teachers in cancer research to give them tools and knowledge to disseminate through their classrooms and curriculum.

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.

>View more details here. 


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.

>View more details here.


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.

>View more details here.