Denton County business community perceptions of virtual education for workforce development
Larson, Patricia Sager
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Businesses in Denton County, Texas, are unable to secure the educated workforce necessary to meet present and future employment demands. The focus of this exploratory, qualitative study was to identify perceptions of virtual education as it relates to workforce development. A customized, self-administered, open-ended questionnaire was sent to a non-randomized sample of volunteers. Respondents' answers were compiled, analyzed, and reported. The following 5 themes were identified: (1) diversity of training and education for workforce development, (2) positive perceptions and attitudes toward virtual-based education, (3) necessity of job-specific training, (4) willingness of collaboration between entities, and (5) a need for customized education and training. Overall, each respondent perceived the requirements for development of training and education programs in their specific company to be unique. From the analysis of data, strong support is offered for collaboration between entities in Denton County in developing curricula using virtual technology.Business and industry provide the means for employment and thus the the mechanisms for financial survival of individuals and families. All stakeholders in a community are dependent on one another and together create a synergistic environment. The key to the sustenance of the employment opportunities it creates. These factors, combined with the urgency expressed by businesses for a workforce trained to meet the requirements of the 21st century indicates a potential market for virtual education in Denton County.