Date of Award

Fall 12-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Foundations & Leadership


Educational Leadership

Committee Director

William Owings

Committee Member

Steve Myran

Committee Member

Petros Katsioloudis


Nationally, the labor market is calling out for workers to fill the increasing number of job vacancies, but those qualified, skilled, and able to fill them are limited in supply or retiring in large numbers. As America’s key industries offer high salaries in return for candidates with the necessary skills and credentials to fill their vacancies, the skills learned and third-party industry credentials earned in secondary Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs seem to make a perfect fit for the student, employer, and the economy. However, unlike the favored US educational model of the four-year degree, the continued outdated perception of CTE and low level of awareness of industry credentials held by the public, educators, and students, continue to perpetuate this skills crisis while undermining the economic potential for Virginia’s high school students.

Using a non-experimental, quantitative study, employing ex post facto data, a Likert survey, and a closed-ended question survey, this research shows, in dollar terms, the economic value of CTE industry credentials for the students who earn them, the VDOE superintendent region in which they live, and for Virginia’s Treasury in terms of potential income tax revenue for the next five years. The implications of this research are noteworthy for policymakers, school leaders, CTE advocates, for changing the perception of CTE and industry credentials, but most importantly, for the success of Virginia’s high school graduates.


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