Date of Conferral







Melissa Scotch


High school graduates who opt for labor-based unionized positions, versus matriculating, are typically viewed as unable to matriculate, less intelligent and a myriad of other less desirable qualities. Current literature fails to showcase the decision-making experiences of unionized men who did not matriculate. There is also a gap regarding unionized mens’ perceptions on matriculation, including their reasons for not. This general qualitative study explored the career decision-making experiences of unionized men and their perceptions on postsecondary education through semi-structured interviews with 10 unionized men in Delaware and Pennsylvania. Purposeful and convenience sampling were used for recruitment through posted flyers within local union halls. Applying a modified Van Kaam method to analyze the transcribed interviews, 6 thematic results were found about the career-decision making experiences and perceptions of postsecondary education by these unionized men. These results indicated that unionized men had positive decision-making experiences, chose their paths based on family supports and modeling, and felt a sense of security and satisfaction. Unionized mens’ perceptions of matriculation were also positive however, financial costs of institutions, lack of interest in schooling, and their chosen fields not requiring college solidified their choice to unionize. Findings from this study can contribute to positive social change by increasing counselor and educator’s education on alternate paths beyond matriculating to better enable students to make appropriate career choices. It is also hopeful that this study emphasized the importance of guest speakers, exploratory classes, and planned field trips to union halls in addition to college focused curriculum and school trainings.