Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Academic Discipline

Community College Leadership

First Advisor

Rebecca S. Lake

Second Advisor

Dennis K. Haynes

Third Advisor

Todd J. Hoover


In an era of increasingly tight community college budgets, noncredit workforce training partnerships with local business and industry are becoming critical sources of revenue. These partnerships can underwrite otherwise unaffordable projects and build effective bridges from non-credit to credit-bearing coursework for students. However, little research exists on the nature of community college noncredit workforce training partnerships or how those partnerships are built and maintained.

The purpose of this study is to identify how and in what ways Illinois single-campus community colleges develop and sustain effective noncredit workforce training partnerships. This qualitative case study of Illinois’ single-campus community colleges and their business and industry counterparts examines the entrepreneurial orientation of noncredit workforce training partnerships, analyzes the methods by which partnerships are built and sustained, and examines the levels to which partnerships are evaluated. A sequential multi-method approach to data collection gathered data and information from five community college administrators and five noncredit workforce training partners. The conceptual framework for this study incorporates Lumpkin and Dess’s (1996) Entrepreneurial Orientation Construct; Amey, Eddy, and Ozaki’s (2007) Partnership Development Model; and Kirkpatrick and Kirkpatrick’s (1993) Four Levels of Training Evaluation.

The findings indicate that community college administrators frequently demonstrate the Entrepreneurial Orientation Construct’s salient dimensions of innovativeness, proactiveness, and autonomy; however, these administrators rarely demonstrate the salient dimensions of risk-taking and competitive aggressiveness. In addition, noncredit workforce training partnerships are normally initiated by a x community college champion who may or may not be the college president; however, this individual must be viewed as a champion by both partners. All study participants found that the key to successful noncredit workforce training partnerships involves the use of a knowledgeable, experienced closer who attends to the relationship’s logistical details and keeps the champion apprised of partnership developments.

The findings also indicate that most noncredit workforce training administrators limit their use of training evaluation to measuring learners’ reaction to training, which reaction is used almost exclusively for purposes of marketing and promotion. These administrators do not employ successive levels of evaluation to measure learning, behavioral change, or results, all of which could impact training effectiveness or future training initiatives. Interestingly, study participants also indicated a need for the community college to implement client resource management software, membership on local workforce investment and economic development agency boards, and noncredit advisory councils to assist in partnership development and maintenance. Finally, Condon’s Noncredit Workforce Training Partnership Model is presented to guide community college administrators in developing and sustaining noncredit workforce training partnerships.