Off-campus SJSU users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your SJSU library user name and PIN.

Publication Date

Spring 2023

Degree Type

Dissertation - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)




Kathleen McConnell


California Current System, canary rockfish, mercury concentration, stable isotopes, stomach content analysis, trophic ecology

Subject Areas

Educational leadership


This study responds to a national conversation about the role that Career Technical Education (CTE) might play in meeting workforce demand for soft skills. It is challenging for CTE programs to offer soft skills for several reasons. Both educators and employers tend to associate CTE with hard skills, or technical skills and therefore the programs may be overlooked as a pathway to soft skills. CTE programs prepare students for specific occupations but that can be difficult to do if employers cannot specify the skills they are seeking. Employers may want to see more than traditional student records before they trust that students have acquired desirable skills. This program evaluation examines how two CTE programs at a California public community college are meeting these challenges and the workforce demand for soft skills. The study looks at supplemental workshops added to West Valley College’s Administration of Justice program and the Business Administration program. The studies provide examples of how the workshops have embedded tailored, occupation-specific soft skills into the programs, and analyzes student job and internship attainment after completion of the workshops. The evaluation shows that some of the desired occupational soft skills are already in place in some existing programs. Even so, the study finds benefit in how the workshops highlighted specific skills for both students and employers. It also finds that employers appear to rely more on their own industry evaluation instruments rather than student records for evidence of soft skills acquisition.