Implementation of the Workforce Investment Act at the Houston Community College system: an examination of changing college roles

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Barringer, Albert Lee

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This qualitative study examines how the implementation of the Workforce Investment Act impacted the relationship between the Gulf Coast Career Centers and the Houston Community College System (HCCS). The methodology employed the Interactive Qualitative Analysis technique to analyze processes and systems and a focus group to ground the data and conduct twenty (20) interviews. This methodology provided rich textural data for collection and analysis. The data from the interviews were then tabulated and analyzed to produce the System Interrealational Diagraph (SID). The study resulted in the axial coded identification of nine affinities and fifty-four (54) sub-affinities. Theoretical coding of the affinities produced twenty (20) direct influences and one feedback loop. The findings revealed drastic reductions in enrollments and participation in the WIA programs. A wall of bureaucratic processes and miscommunications impedes any progress; consequently, a number of community colleges opt to not participate. The customization of processes and interpretation metamorphasized the original intent of the WIA. These factors are exacerbated by a fundamental lack of communication between parties-who as a result, fail to become partners. Based on these and other findings, a set of recommendations and the Workforce Integration Network (WIN) model are proposed as baseline solutions. Further studies should resolve work first, WIN effectiveness, WIA implementation and funding issues. The WIN model is only the first step toward recovery. Further research, and the implementation of basic intercommunication skills are required for any level of success. The success of WIA rests with the participants and their will to succeed.



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