Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Applied Sciences, Technology, and Education

Committee Chair(s)

Gary Straquadine


Gary Straquadine


Jamie Cano


Ryan Knowles


Debra Spielmaker


Brian Warnick


Globalization and rapid changes in technology have led to a shift in the skills employers need. These changes have resulted in a gap between the skills people have and those required by industry. This exploratory case study sought to better understand the uniquely human skills employers desire and technical educators should teach in order to address this gap in a local context. The study was conducted in four phases. 1) Current literature was analyzed to identify commonly recurring human skills discussed in studies and reports. 2) These skills were then used as search terms in an analysis of occupational advisory committee meeting minutes. 3) Two survey instruments were then created from these analyses: one for distribution among employers in Davis and Morgan Counties, Utah, and the other for distribution among Davis Technical College faculty. 4) Data was collected and analyzed using both descriptive and inferential statistics.

This dissertation reports employer perceptions regarding the importance of human skills for entry-level employees and for career success. In addition, it reports faculty perceptions regarding the importance of human skills for entry-level employees and the instructional methods used to help develop these skills. These perceptions were compared in multiple ways. Among the many findings of the study, integrity and work ethic were found to be the most important human skills across all constructs explored.

An important implication of this study is that the findings from the survey data should be utilized as a catalyst for further discussion rather than as the ending point of inquiry. A better understanding of how employers define and perceive human skills most important to their industry contexts for entry-level employees is needed if faculty want to create responsive curricula.