Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Olga Salnikova


Local employers believe the lack of prerequisite soft skills is inhibiting the graduates from a local community college from securing employment. The rationale of this phenomenological study was to investigate the perceptions of students and employers related to the soft skills needed to be successful in future employment. The theoretical framework was based on Mezirow's transformational and Daloz's mentorship theories. Individual face-to-face, semistructured interviews were used to gather data from 12 business and computer students and 7 employers (N=19) who were selected using purposeful random sampling. The typewritten transcripts of participants' responses were imported in MAXQDA 11, then were open coded and analyzed for emergent themes. According to emergent findings among these 19 participants, for entry-level jobs, communication was the most important and the most lacking soft skill. The recommendations informed the creation of a mandatory 3-day professional development training program, which was developed to help students enhance their soft skills before entering their future careers. This study directly affects positive social change by enhancing the quality of soft skills for future employees who enter the local work force.