|Career technical education in the State of Alabama has undergone significant change over the last decade (Key, 2008). There are more technology driven programs in the high wage, high skill, and high demand occupational areas and this is reducing the stigma associated with career technical education (National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education, 2001).
The demand for skilled labor is increasing rapidly within the State of Alabama; this study will help to validate the need for career technical education. The review of literature revealed that leaders in economic development realize that career technical education is a viable component of workforce development for the State. This study also provided an overview of perceptions to see if there has been a statistically significant change over the past seven years.
This study provided a snapshot of self perceptions of career technical educators as well as the latest citizens’ poll completed for the State Department of Education in 2008. This study also reviewed longitudinal data from three citizens’ opinion polls completed for the State Department of Education by Southern Opinion Research, Inc. located in South Carolina. These surveys were completed in 2003, 2005, and 2008 to assess if perceptions about career technical education had changed from one administration of the survey instrument to the next.
This study provided results from non-parametric statistical analysis performed to answer the research questions. The responses to the survey items were categorical; therefore, the researcher used chi square analyses to determine if there were any statistically significant differences in responses. There were three research questions asked and eight survey items analyzed in an attempt to answer each of the research questions.
From the data cited, a conclusion can be drawn that the perception of Alabama citizen’s regarding career technical education was overall positive. The first survey item analyzed revealed that in each year of the study over 95 percent of the respondents felt it was either important or very important to offer career technical education in Alabama’s schools. In general, the educators and citizens perceptions of career technical education were positive. The difference occurred in the degree in which the respondents felt career technical education was either important or beneficial to different student groups. Educators were more passionate in their responses.