Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education and School of Criminal Justice


Gary Reglin

Committee Member

Hardwick Smith Johnson


career technical education, high school, career pathways, retention, acquire, advanced training facilities, equipment


The problem was the existence of little information concerning the study’s comprehensive high school Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education (CTAE) pathway program instructors’ and graduated and employed students’ lived experiences in the Mechatronics pathway program regarding strengths, weaknesses, and recommendations to enhance the program. The pathway program instructors taught critical job skills required in different areas of advanced manufacturing industries. The purpose of the study was to investigate participants’ lived experiences regarding strengths, weaknesses, and recommendations to enhance the program.

Participants were 12 adults (six CTAE pathway program instructors and six successfully employed students who graduated from the Mechatronics pathway program). All participants were knowledgeable on the Mechatronics pathway program. The 12 participants were a purposefully selected sample. There were two instruments which were the Instructor Interview and Graduated and Employed Student Interview. Each interview lasted about 45 minutes and was conducted with Zoom technology. Data analysis happened with NVivo software, and the Interpretive Thematic Data Analysis Procedure suggested by Burroughs and Jinks (2018).

For Research Question 1, the strengths of the Mechatronics program included students received a broad range of skills in basic mechanical training and electrical training, and the program provided hands-on experiences at the job entry levels. The program helped students earn a high school certificate in Mechatronics and supported them to gain employment with factories and varied agricultural jobs in the local rural communities. With Research Question 2, the weaknesses of the Mechatronics program included the program did not always have the required equipment to support the curriculum, and some equipment was not as advanced as the advanced manufacturing worksite equipment. The program was in a rural setting, while student competitions were often held in large metropolitan areas. For Research Question 3, recommendations to improve the Mechatronics program were to (a) involve students with the Technology Student Association and (b) provide greater support by the school administration to acquire advanced training facilities and equipment at the comprehensive high school.

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