Employer participation in Florida school -to -work initiatives

Mary Ellen Haley, Florida International University


This study used a cross-sectional design and descriptive research methodology to assess the characteristics and practices of employers participating in Florida school-to-work (STW) initiatives, the factors influencing their participation, and their STW partnerships with schools. The study also examined the relationships between employer characteristics and participation. A sampling frame of 15,202 employers from the 28 Florida STW regions was constructed. Data were collected via a mail survey with a random sample of employers, using a researcher-designed questionnaire. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, correlational analysis, and analysis of variance. At the 95% confidence level, it was estimated that the mean establishment size in the population is between 25 and 51 employees and that employers have been involved in STW partnerships between five and seven years. The study revealed broad-based employer participation in three of four areas: Working with Students, Working with Educators, and Internal Company Practices Supporting STW. A fourth area, Building a System, showed generally low participation. Data indicate that workforce needs are important incentives to employer STW participation beyond their desire to contribute to education or the community. Data also indicate that lack of information on STW is the greatest barrier to employer participation. Sample employers have more positive perceptions of the value of their partnerships with schools than of the quality of the partnerships. Ninety-four percent agreed that students are better prepared for work and careers as a result of the partnership's activities. More than half agreed that a sense of trust and good communication exist between educators and employer partners. Employer variables found to have a significant, positive relationship with participation include size (coefficient of determination r2 = .116), years in STW partnerships (r2 = .128), and perceptions of partnership quality (r2 = .092) and value (r2 = .112). A major conclusion based on the findings of this study is that employer participation is optimized in initiatives that achieve important STW outcomes for students and build long-term relationships between employers and schools. Another that in Florida, the STW Opportunities Act of 1994 has not resulted in substantially greater employer involvement in building a STW system.

Subject Area

Vocational education

Recommended Citation

Haley, Mary Ellen, "Employer participation in Florida school -to -work initiatives" (2000). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI9991049.