Date of Conferral







Celeste M. Fenton


The lack of student career preparedness has increased the number of youths facing negative personal, economic, and social implications and have led to increased calls for public education to find solutions. The purpose of this generic qualitative study was to explore West Virginia district administrators’ perceptions about career readiness and workforce programs. Underpinning the study’s conceptual framework was educational leadership. The two research questions focused on district administrator perceptions about the value and importance and the barriers, limitations, and successes of career readiness and workforce programs. A qualitative survey and semistructured interview were employed to provide data for an iterative, cyclical analysis of participants’ responses. Analysis revealed seven themes, and the most notable surrounded economic trend awareness and career and technical education (CTE) separate from academics. These primary themes along with a discernable difference in those administrators with CTE leadership experience revealed key insights into the perceptions of district administrators. The results can provide policymakers and other school leaders understanding of district administrators’ perceptions about the value and challenges associated with preparing today’s youth for the workforce. With greater comprehension of these attitudes and beliefs, public schools and states can develop training, policies, and responses to address productive career and workforce preparation for students to avoid a negative career trajectory and promote the positive social change of avoiding underemployment and unemployment.