Committee Chair

Tucker, James A.

Committee Member

Hinsdale, Bernard; Rausch, David


Dept. of Education


College of Health, Education, and Professional Studies


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


The purpose of this quantitative study was to identify the workforce skills perceived to be critical in the Chattanooga region, and to explore how colleges and businesses can partner to effectively develop those skills. Data from a June 2011 survey of workforce stakeholders in the Chattanooga region were analyzed. The 78 survey respondents represent a cross-section of industries and organization sizes. The methodology used to identify critical workforce skills was designed to select skills considered to be important regardless of factors such as industry type or organization size. Active listening, leadership, critical thinking, customer focus, oral communication, and teamwork/collaboration were found to be critical workforce skills. Due to the perception that current workforce skills in active listening, leadership, critical thinking, and customer focus were relatively inadequate, these skills were identified as urgently critical workforce skills. The study is intended to inform efforts to build college-business partnerships that can effectively develop important workforce skills in the Chattanooga region. For each of the skills identified as critical, the perceived skill level of experienced employees was compared to the perceived skill level of recent college graduates. The uniqueness of this study lies in the fact that it connects research on important workforce skills to the perceived responsibility and effectiveness of colleges in developing those skills. Furthermore, business practices and perceptions regarding training methods were explored in the survey, as well as preferences for various forms of college-business interaction. The urgently critical skills are discussed within the framework of a social cognitive theory of learning. A particularly notable result of the study is that the confluence of learning theory and urgently critical skills provided a striking, and unexpectedly clear, direction regarding a leadership theory that could effectively guide development of college-business partnerships.


Ed. D.; A dissertation submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Doctor of Education.




Occupational training


Chattanooga (Tenn.)


Workforce skills


Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research

Document Type

Doctoral dissertations


xiv, 121 leaves




Under copyright.