The Development Of A Statewide Plan To Increase Enrollment In Vocational Centers And Implementation Of The Plan At Abbeville Career Center.

Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Center for the Advancement of Education


Career Centers statewide have experienced declines in enrollment for several years. The absence of plan designed to address enrollment problems and to provide direction to the schools contributed to failure of many vocational programs. To address this problem the primary purpose of this study was to develop a plan to Increase enrollment by identifying the variables and key persons that affected enrollment patterns at other institutions and the Abbeville Career Center. The results of this study provided a directional plan that Identified and addressed the essential variables that influenced enrollment nationwide and at the Abbeville Career Center. The plan also provided the flexibility to adapt to the changing conditions affecting the number of students choosing vocational education at the Abbeville Career Center. The basic research questions and issues considered in this Investigation were: 1. How is the concept of student recruitment related to student perceptions about the vocational center, student needs, academic coursework, and student choices regarding course selection? 2. What are factors that influence student retention and how are these factors related to studies regarding student satisfaction? 3. What are the common elements of studies and marketing plans that have primarily addressed declining enrollments? 4. What are the major components to be included in a plan to increase enrollment at area vocational centers throughout the State of South Carolina? 5. What are the relationships between increased academic requirements, suggested by local, state, and national studies, and vocational enrollment and retention? 6. What are the roles and responsibilities to be assumed by the decision-makers that are necessary to impact enrollment? The procedures for conducting this investigation included: (1) a literature search to find relevant materials; (2) correspondence sent to State Directors of Vocational Education in the United States and United States territories to solicit information on plans developed to attract and retain vocational students (3) interviews and conferences held with the key persons who administered the plan; (4) evaluation of the plan by state level vocational officials; and the development and administration of surveys to current vocational students and potential vocational students. A total of 517 surveys were distributed: 428 surveys were returned. Data from the surveys and data abstracted from the review and analysis of other state plans to increase enrollment were compiled into a strategic plan to increase vocational enrollment. To gain Insights about how they found out about the occupational programs and what factors influenced their retention or attrition. The sample selected for this study was 11th and 12th graders (1st and 2nd year vocational students that were enrolled at the Abbeville Career Center). Tenth grade students were surveyed at the feeder high schools to determine why they chose to pursue or not to pursue a vocational course and to establish a basis for profiling students who are interested in vocational education. The basic conclusions from this investigation were that: completion for vocational students is likely to increase; effective public relations is a means to increase enrollment; retention is an essential element of a plan to increase enrollment; and vocational programs nationwide are experiencing enrollment problems. As a result of this investigation, the following recommendations were offered to the Abbeville School District 60 Board of Trustees: (1) that released line be provided for feeder high school counselors and the vocational counselor to hold monthly meetings to address issues affecting Abbeville School District 60 vocational students; (2) that district legal policies be developed to insure that the feeder high schools cooperate to provide scheduling conducive to students attending the Abbeville Career Center; (3) that the cooperative education handbook developed as a result of this study be adopted for district-wide use (currently no district guidelines have been developed): (4) that funds be allocated and released time be provided for vocational teachers to attend workshops and seminars on instruction of non-traditional students; and (5) that funds be appropriated to the Abbeville Career Center to defray the costs of developing brochures, advertisements, securing guest speakers, and other expenditures associated with mounting an effective public relations effort needed to enhance the institutional image.

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