Date of Conferral

1-1-2011

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Michael L. Brophy

Abstract

The willingness to work and a high school diploma were once all that was needed to start one's career. The problem is that on the twentieth anniversary of the reports by the Secretary's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS), high school graduates may still lack what business and education leaders require for success in entry-level employment or post-secondary studies. The research question included understanding how prepared graduates from at-risk high schools are for post-secondary work or study. The study used a Likert-scaled survey to assess participant work readiness in 36 skill or competency areas. The sample consisted of recent graduates from three at-risk high schools in one school district. Graduate responses to the survey indicated that 64% were not work ready. Statistically, results were consistent with the SCANS report that indicated that 51% of all American high school graduates were underprepared. Pearson correlations were detected between the graduates' level of academic study (i.e., special education, tech-prep, college-prep, or honors) and work-readiness, and between pre-graduation work-experience and work-readiness. Implications for positive social change include improved graduate work readiness.