Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educ Leadership/Counseling


Community College Leadership

Committee Director

John M. Ritz

Committee Member

Dennis Gregory

Committee Member

Philip A. Reed


The mission of the Virginia Community College workforce development leaders is to expand their training and development services to new and emerging high growth occupational areas in support of Virginia's economic growth and changing workforce needs in each of their regions. This research was designed to identify: high demand occupational skill needs; current training services; the shifting and changing trends based on technology, competition, and workforce composition; and the need for partnerships. A survey, based on current and emerging trends and their impact on workforce development training services, was sent to the 22 Virginia Community College workforce development leaders. This purposeful sampling provided a 100% return and data that reinforced the literature findings and the projections of the Department of Labor through 2016. Of the 22 workforce development leaders surveyed 19 listed healthcare skill training as the highest in-demand occupational need in their regions. Following healthcare seven of the 22 leaders reported technology across many occupational areas as high demand skill training areas. Strong college and industry collaborative efforts were reported as necessary to provide training and services that increase employee skills and abilities and provide an efficient route to emerging high growth, high demand occupational areas.

The International Technology Education Association (ITEA) categorized nine technology trends that continue to emerge increasing the impact on the need to create learning technology resources. All nine were rated by the workforce development leaders on a scale of one to five with a mean response impact rate between 2.36 and 3.59. Information and Communication Technology received the highest with mean response impact rate of 3.59 while Agricultural and related Biotechnologies had the lowest mean impact response rate of 2.36. However, all nine were determined to have some form of impact across the diverse regions of Virginia. This research identified the need for continuous focus and further study of the emerging technologies identified by the ITEA in particular the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) educational areas The standards in the nine identified areas of technological literacy were set up for all students from kindergarten through grade twelve. The challenge is to continue the growth and development of curricula for workforce skill training that builds on the standards already defined.

Data collected from the workforce development leaders, the literature, and many research centers, such as the National Center for Career and Technical Education, highlighted the need for further research to study best practices that strengthen partnerships currently in place and build extensive networks that include: college and university researchers, business and industry leaders, and frontline subject matter and skill experts. Further study on professional development opportunities is necessary to fill the gap between reflection on the emerging trends and issues and the actions needed to add real-world, specific, innovative resources to present training and development services that strategically build a skilled workforce that contributes to economic progress.