Date of Award

Summer 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


STEM Education & Professional Studies


Occupational and Technical Studies

Committee Director

John M. Ritz

Committee Member

Chris Sink

Committee Member

Michael F. Kosloski


The purpose of this study was to design a conceptual model of career counseling for high school counselors to assist students with the school-to-work transition. A framework addressing the nature and substance of interactions and activities that support workforce preparation was needed. Qualitative research was conducted. Four focus groups comprised of unemployed individuals searching for work, gainfully employed artisans and skilled technicians, managers and employers from business and industry, and high school counselors were held to collect data. Two coders established intercoder agreements and a kappa was calculated to determine interrater reliability. Economic data obtained from interviews with business specialists at America’s Job Center of California and the literature review assisted with data triangulation. The results indicate a need for comprehensive and responsive career counseling at the high school level that allows for self-discovery, incorporates employment data, and utilizes learning experiences in a systematic fashion. A conceptual model of workforce counseling was developed. Counselors maintain an involved leadership role, yet career development activities involve both the school and local community. Workforce counseling proposes that career development be school-wide and systematic, including specific, vertically-aligned, career development and counseling activities to help with the transition from school to work. The model enhances career and occupational awareness, with knowledge of self and the working world through assessments, seminars, activities, and planning resources. Workforce counseling commences before a student begins his or her freshman year and develops throughout their four years of study. The model fosters soft and technical skill development to aid in general employability through use of career and technical education.


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