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Understanding the Importance of Research at Community Colleges and Workforce Centers.

Mulfinger, Evan.

In collaboration with Stearns-Benton Employment & Training Council (SBETC) and St Cloud Technical and Community College (SCTCC), a graduate student was assigned to statistically analyze data containing all individuals who passed through both entities within the last five years. The primary objectives of this project were to describe the population passing through both the SBETC and SCTCC and to identify what variables led individuals to succeed in terms of degree and employment obtained. Due to lack of data on type of employment obtained (e.g. position, wage), this report focuses on degree attainment as an indicator of success. In order to make meaningful comparisons regarding degree attainment, a control group was set up using SCTCC students only. The control group was selected using a randomized process and consisted of students who were enrolled at SCTCC in the last five years. Individuals to be placed in the control group were selected based off demographic parameters obtained from the initial dataset.

After analyzing the data, it was found that the individuals passing through the SBETC only are significantly older than those who passed through both areas and those who passed through SCTCC only. Following the analysis of age, differences in regards to gender were found. In the dataset containing those who passed through the SBETC only, the percentage of females doubled the percentage of males. In the dataset containing those who passed through both the SBETC and SCTCC, the percentage of females tripled the percentage of males. And lastly, those who passed through the SCTCC had a slightly higher percentage of males.

After gender was examined, the percentages of race were identified. In all three samples, it was found that “White” was the majority and ranged from sixty-five percent to seventy-six 5 percent. The second highest percentage in all datasets was “Black or African American”. These percentages ranged from fifteen to twenty percent. All other race variables were less than five percent in each sample. All descriptive statistics including those previously discussed can be found in the appendix section of this report.

While comparing both student populations, it was revealed that higher scores on Basic Math and Elementary Algebra sections of the ACCUPLACER predicted that a student will complete their degree. A significant relationship was also identified between the numbers of years taken to complete a degree and the Basic Math section of the ACCUPLACER. As scores on the Basic Math section went up, the numbers of years it took to complete a degree went down. Although this correlation is low, it indicates that basic mathematical skills may play an important role in the time it takes to obtain a degree.

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Prepared in partnership with Stearns-Benton Employment & Training Council St Cloud Technical and Community College by the Community Assistantship Program (CAP), which is administered by the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) at the University of Minnesota.
23 pp.
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