Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Stacy Wahl


At a local setting in the Southwestern United States, 44% of adults elected not to participate in the organization’s free nonmandatory educational programs. There was a lack of understanding of the reasons for why this phenomenon existed, which is inconsistent with the rising trends of adults returning to formal degree or certification programs. The discrepancy between educational engagement at the work organization and current educational trends among adults may signal a practice gap in the way the organization markets its educational curriculum. The purpose of this study was to explore why some adults at the local setting elected not to participate in the free educational offerings so that a substantial understanding of the phenomenon could emerge. The theoretical model framing this study was Knowles’ theory of andragogy. A basic qualitative study design was used to answer the research questions. Purposeful sampling yielded a participant pool of 5 nonmanagerial workers for individual interviews and 3 nonmanagerial workers for a focus group interview who had elected not to participate in training opportunities at the local setting. Data from the interviews were coded with a coding program, initial, and axial coding. Participants reported that poor communication of existing programs and a lackluster curriculum marketing strategy failed to encourage participation. Findings support recommendations that may serve to positively improve participation in the organization’s educational programs. The implications of social change resulting from the study are visualized as participation in education changes the perspectives and attitudes of individuals, empowering those individuals to protect their civil liberties and economic outcomes.