Degree Type

Creative Component

Semester of Graduation

Summer 2020


Agricultural Education and Studies

First Major Professor

Dr. Scott Smalley


Master of Science (MS)


Agricultural Education


Since the early 1900s, vocational education more commonly known as Career and Technical Education (CTE) today, has been a key component of preparing students for success towards entering the workforce upon graduating. Career and Technical Education programs have proven to be an essential factor in allowing students to enhance their ‘employability skills’, gain unique hands-on experiences, and relate content to real-world applications that extend beyond their time in the classroom. Trade-focused jobs are high in demand for skilled students that know and value the importance of obtaining employability ‘soft’ skills, but also have the motivation and drive to work with labor-intense career paths. With the opportunity for students to enter a significantly successful and profitable trade-focused career path subsequent to graduating from high school, when will educators stop deterring students away from this option and truly begin equipping students with the tools necessary to be successful in this possibility? To answer this ongoing question, this creative component dissertation and research focused on the opportunities to increase student preparedness to enter the workforce with the implementation of an agricultural leadership and career seminar course to high school agricultural programs. Ultimately, the course outline founded and established throughout my research will assist secondary agricultural educators in incorporating the addition of a capstone course to positively impact career preparation and work place success of graduating seniors. The research methods utilized within this creative component including hands-on experience of adding the an agricultural leadership and career outline capstone course to my own high school agricultural program, and utilizing the results discovered through my students enrolled in the course. Additional research was retrieved from collaboration with two other secondary agricultural educators that also implemented the course outline I established into their programs this past year. The overall results from data collected in each of the three classrooms from student surveys, discovered that the vast majority of students increased their confidence in workplace preparation and career success at the completion of the course. Through the incorporation of the course outline created throughout this creative component to high school agricultural education programs across the state and nation, teachers will be able to better prepare students to not only be ready for various college programs, but also help students feel more confident in their workplace abilities following graduation.

Copyright Owner

James, Danielle

File Format


Embargo Period (admin only)