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From Entry to Employment: Interlocking Keys to Building a Successful Technician Program

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Two-year College STEM Programs Meeting the Needs of Industry

Tagged Division

Two-Year College

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Paper Authors


Randy Libros Community College of Philadelphia

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Randy Libros is Program Director, Applied Science and Engineering Technology, and
Associate Professor of physics.

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Tammy Wooten

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Mozhgan Bahadory

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With support from a National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education (ATE) grant, we have developed a successful Biomedical Equipment Technology Program, with success measured in terms of student recruitment, retention and job placement. We will specifically address industry engagement and employment opportunities; program contents and structure; student retention; and marketing and recruitment. It is our contention that these key factors must be seen as an integrated whole, and not simply addressed as separate tasks. Several examples are noted below:

• Marketing and recruitment efforts should be seamlessly connected with retention strategies. While the nature of support for entering and continuing students differ in certain ways, commonality between them includes the need to understand the profession and the program, clarification of personal goals, and often assistance in navigating college processes. Further, the relationships established with entering students provides the foundation for the ongoing relationship with continuing students.

• Both recruitment and retention depend on student perception that the program is achievable and will help them reach the ultimate goal of finding a career that will be both personally and financially rewarding. Significant industry engagement, from initial program design to ongoing supports such as internships, is key to ensuring that the program does indeed prepare students to enter the field.

• Program structure is also an important element that impacts recruitment and retention. With the support of our Advisory Board, we have established a stackable credentials program that enables students to enter the field after completion of a one-year certificate, and to then continue their education to complete a second level certificate and associate’s degree. Students may be willing to make sacrifices to complete a short term certificate that they might not be willing to make for a full degree program.

• Marketing and recruitment efforts should ensure that prospective students have a realistic understanding of the field and the program. Student understanding of the needs of the field, and therefore what is being taught in the program, is reinforced by utilizing instructors with direct and current experience in the field, while also providing mentoring to instructors who may not have extensive teaching experience.

Libros, R., & Wooten, T., & Bahadory, M. (2018, June), From Entry to Employment: Interlocking Keys to Building a Successful Technician Program Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30541

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