Information Technology Career Decision Making: Validating Models of Self-Authorship in Middle and High School Students Enrolled in Upward Bound and Talent Search Programs in Rural Appalachia
Kimbrell, Monica Renee
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Information Technology (IT) jobs are in demand in the United States and rural Appalachian communities are attracting IT businesses. The need to fill IT jobs creates a workforce opportunity for these communities where students have limited access to academic and career resources. The Upward Bound and Talent Search programs respond to the academic and career needs of disadvantaged students and aim to educate students about high skills jobs but little is known about interest in IT careers among middle and high school students in rural Appalachia. This study validates models of IT career interest and parental support of IT careers in girls and boys enrolled in Upward Bound or Talent Search in rural communities in Virginia using the theoretical framework of self-authorship. The theory of self-authorship explores the development of meaning-making in individuals and offers a context-specific way to study interest in IT careers. Results indicate interest in IT careers but the path to IT career interest is different among girls and boys. Girls are relying on others for career advice more often than boys and there is direct association between the information sources and interest in IT careers. Parental support is important in IT career interest for both girls and boys. Other important variables indicating an interest in IT careers are computer use and positive attitudes toward IT workers. Receiving information from sources such as parents, teachers, counselors, and friends is especially important to girls. Findings from this study can be used to inform practices and policies for Upward Bound and Talent Search.
- Doctoral Dissertations