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Students’ first employment expectations in technology programs

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

College Industry Partnerships Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

College Industry Partnerships

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Omidreza Shoghli Western Carolina University


George D Ford Western Carolina University

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Dr. George Ford P.E. is an associate professor in the Construction Management Department at Western Carolina University.

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Recent informal interviews of employers in western North Carolina (NC) indicate a current shortage of hourly craft, and professional workers in the construction industry. The industrial advisory committee (IAC) at XXX University of the construction management program have reported shortages of craftsmen and project managers to such a serious degree that they are not bidding on and refusing work where they anticipate a serious shortage of workers. The opportunity for these companies for profit growth is lost where workers are not available. Many companies are at a loss as to a course of action to replace retiring workers. Many state funded trade craftsmen programs across the country have been eliminated at the vocational and technical colleges due to budgeting issues. Many parents of college age students are reluctant to recommend construction programs to their offspring due to the recent memories of the 2008 housing market crash and the subsequent declines in the construction industry.

Administrators at the universities across the country typically do not directly manage the remaining one and two-year craftsmen programs at the vocational and community colleges, but they may assist employers at their IACs with hiring and retaining new project managers from their four-year programs by conveying the desires and expectations of their current classes of students to these employers. Employers may need to consider human resource related cultural changes in their companies to maximize potential profits. This paper discusses a pilot study which surveyed junior and senior construction management and engineering technology students at XXX University to determine their expectations of benefits in their first jobs after graduation. Many employers on the IAC at XXX University believe the job expectations of new college graduates at universities where they recruit has changed in recent years, but they do not have any empirical data to support their hypothesis. This study is a first attempt to generate data to address these IAC members’ impressions. It is anticipated that a larger study including multiple universities will be needed to adequately report new graduate expectations and the impact on employability in the construction industry.

Shoghli, O., & Ford, G. D. (2017, June), Students’ first employment expectations in technology programs Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28873

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