Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Educational Policy Studies and Eval

First Advisor

Dr. Jane Jensen


Understanding the practical implications of work-based learning opportunities (WBLOs) is complex. Although WBLOs are not new learning environments, understanding and clearly defining them is increasingly necessary. In Kentucky, WBLOs are part of the political discourse in post-secondary education. The Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) and local/regional economic and workforce development agencies have incorporated strengthening and growing WBLOs into their strategic plans.

By interviewing students that have completed WBLOs at three colleges in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS), this study intended to explore student perspectives of WBLOs by asking the following research questions: 1) What role do WBLOs play in transmitting dominant workplace cultural capital and how has that transmission impacted student career pathway decisions? 2) What impact do WBLOs have in developing workplace expectations post-graduation?

The dissertation is produced in three manuscripts, including a companion piece written in collaboration with Lauren McCrary, examining faculty perspectives of WBLOs in Kentucky. The second manuscript is an essay addressing the concept of workforce mis-alignment between the skills possessed by post-secondary graduates and the need of industry. The third manuscript is a review of the research, which was conducted to explore student perspectives of WBLOs in relation to the research questions.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)