Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name



Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Dr. Lola Jackson


This study bad several purposes: determine perceptions of teachers and employers about the importance and use of competencies and skills needed by high school graduates to be effective in the workplace of the future; determine points of agreement between the two stakeholders; and use findings to generate new philosophies of curriculum and instructional strategies at Walled Lake Central High School. A survey developed by Neal (1996) measuring the competencies and skills defined by the Secretary's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) was completed by high school teachers and employers in one metropolitan community. Skill areas included basic skills, thinking skills, personal qualities, resource skills, systems and technology skills, informational skills and interpersonal skills. Findings of the study indicated that teachers representing different disciplines equally perceived the importance of the skill areas. However, systems and technology skills were perceived significantly more important by counselors and administrators than by classroom teachers. Findings also indicated that employers representing different occupations had similar perceptions of the importance of skills with the exception of basic skills, which was perceived significantly more positive by employers representing finance, insurance and real estate. There was significant disagreement on importance of information and resource skills, with teachers perceiving these skills more important than employers; otherwise, there was agreement on importance of the five remaining skills. The one significant finding of the study was that employers perceived the frequency of using the skill areas more positively than did teachers. Of the seven skill areas the only agreement was on the frequency of using informational skills. Although there were differences in perceptions of teachers based on staff development experiences and perceptions of employers based on relationships with the school district, these differences were not significant. The major conclusion determined from this study was although teachers and employers agreed on importance of skills for the workplace they are seldom included in instruction. This conclusion directly impacts the need for integration of workplace competencies into public school curriculum and teacher education programs. The involvement of employers in curriculum development is also needed to improve school-to-work transition.