D.B.A. Baker College (Michigan), 2019.
Subjects: Water resources management; Environmental education; Science education
The role of higher education programs to the future of the wastewater industry
131 pages. UMI #: 13902275
Citation, Abstract & Full text in ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Database
Across the U. S., the wastewater industry is experiencing an employment shortage of qualified candidates. Municipalities are having difficulty recruiting operators due to a range of factors including loss of employees due to retirement, economic considerations, and wastewater employment requirements. The shortage of employees is reaching a critical stage and the wastewater industry must look beyond its own boundaries for assistance in promoting careers in this industry. The purpose of this study was to understand the role of higher education programs in the future of the wastewater industry. Theoretical foundations for this study encompass mentoring, motivation, and perception. Research questions asked in this study embodied the following: What considerations motivate an individual to pursue a college education? What factors contribute to an individual selecting a specific program of study? What factors contributed to the student’s selection of the Water Environment Technology Program? What factors contributed to the student’s not selecting the Water Environment Technology Program? A qualitative, phenomenological method focused on student interviews was the research methodology selected for this study. Data collection was performed utilizing the qualitative approach through interviews with students and potential students, and was analyzed by emergent strategy to identify the common themes. The research questions used for this study yielded four themes as to why students selected the Water Environment Technology program: career opportunities available, “other” influences, consideration of personal interests, and selection of the program based on specific career opportunities available. The results from this study will assist the wastewater industry and higher educational institutions to understand the influence of higher education on the interest and growth of careers in the wastewater industry and why students chose to pursue a career in the wastewater industry.