Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies


Education (Educational Leadership)

First Advisor

Erin Doran


This qualitative case study examined one community college’s attempt to better meet the needs of the single mother student population and create a better understanding of the barriers encountered by single mothers in their access to and completion of a short-term certificate program at a community college. Through a qualitative case study of single mothers at a rural community college, community college administrators, and workforce partners, the study sought to understand barriers encountered by single mothers accessing higher education at a community college and how the development of a child care assistance program brought the community college and multiple community partners together to help increase supports for single mothers, while simultaneously attempting to increase the workforce pipeline by providing child care assistance to participants in a short-term certificate training program. The research questions guiding this study sought to identify the role the community college can play in increasing access to education by eliminating the perceived barrier of lack of childcare for the targeted population of single mothers. While examining a unique program developed to help support single mothers’ educational access, the study sought to better understand the unique challenges single mothers face while pursuing both higher education and employment. Results of the study showed that single mothers faced a myriad of barriers in their pathway to educational attainment and that these barriers extended to the workforce. The childcare assistance program, while successful in eliminating a barrier during the short-term training program, was not enough to eliminate the barrier for single mothers while in the workforce. The pilot program examined in this study was successful in creating an awareness of the need to think differently about how to serve single mothers and of the importance of a community partnership to develop a program to successfully serve single mothers at community college.


Copyright Owner

Erin Marie Powers Daley



File Format


File Size

187 pages