Utilizing the Kuder Career Planning System to Meet the Needs of Agricultural Students and Industry
For decades the U.S. has experienced a shortage of agriculturalists. The shortage is expected to continue through 2010. Issues associated will food security will only heighten the need for agriculturalists. Traditionally, recruitment has been through the public secondary agricultural programs where students explore career opportunities in agriculture. However, not all schools have an agriculture program and the schools that provide such programs will not enroll all students in the required courses to learn about agricultural careers. So there is a need for a more effective means of identifying and recruiting students to meet the needs of the agricultural industry. The Kuder Career Planning System is a web-based instrument that helps students identify career interests, skill levels, and work values. Beyond benefits to individuals in career planning, data from Kuder can be useful to state agencies, colleges and universities for program planning, recruitment, resource allocation and curriculum development. The purpose of this research was to identify the demographic characteristics of students selecting the Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources career cluster as their first career choice, so that targeted recruitment strategies could be developed. Data representing over 50,000 respondents for 2005-06 was provided by the Arkansas Department of Workforce Education. Agriculture as a career choice ranked third highest for males and sixth for females. Of the six ethnicities, black females expressed the most interest in agriculture while white females expressed the least. Combined, black males and females ranked agriculture higher than whites combined. This information can lead to targeted recruitment. Knowing there is a projected shortage of agriculturalists and that students have expressed interest in agriculture, educators can develop non-traditional strategies to recruit students for careers in agriculture. This approach can also be used by other career clusters to help target recruitment efforts.
Keywords: Career Planning, Kuder, Career and Technical Education, Vocational Guidance
Dr. David Agnew
Associate Professor, College of Agriculture, Arkansas State University
Deputy Director of Career and Technical Education, Arkansas Department of Workforce Education
Before coming to the DWE, Mr. Davidson taught in career and technical education and later served as a principal of two high schools; Lead Hill and Eureka Springs High School. In 1990 he went to Fayetteville, where he was Director of the Fayetteville High School West Campus Technical Center, considered a model program for meeting the diverse needs of high school students.
Graduate Assistant, College of Education, Arkansas State University