Date of Award

Summer 8-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


STEM Education & Professional Studies


Occupational and Technical Studies

Committee Director

Philip A. Reed

Committee Member

Mickey F. Kosloski, Jr.

Committee Member

Daniel P. Richards


The public system of workforce development has existed for over 45 years, yet there are still issues with adequate skill-building, training, and employment for the vulnerable populations the system is mandated to serve. This study first used a modified Delphi method to survey a sample of executive directors and board members of local workforce development areas regarding the proper systems design needed to fulfill the purposes of current federal legislation. Subsequently using a visual representation of an “ideal” local workforce development area, participants were then interviewed and asked about the utility of such a model for strategic planning and systems design purposes.

Twenty-one participants completed Round 1 of the modified Delphi survey, and 18 participants completed Rounds 2 and 3. Results from Round 1 of the modified Delphi included a Kendall’s W of 0.37, and a Kendall’s W of 0.41 from Rounds 2 and 3. A majority of participants (61.9%, n = 13) strongly agreed with the statement that a visual depiction of the system would be useful for a board’s strategic planning. The statement ranked number one overall in Rounds 2 and 3 was: “The local board should be the governing authority and should be held accountable for performance and educational outcomes.”

Qualitative data from the modified Delphi survey were analyzed and synthesized to develop a textual description of the “ideal” workforce development system fulfilling its federally legislated purposes. The textual description was then used to design a systemigram of the “ideal” system. Finally, 12 participants were interviewed for their feedback about the systemigram and its utility in strategic planning; 28 revisions were made to the systemigram. Conclusions drawn from this study included: complexity and simplicity are characteristics of the “ideal” system; local boards should be the “ideal” systems leaders; and the systemigram acts as an epistemic object that would allow for the complementary application of holistic and analytical thinking in local boards’ strategic planning processes.