Using School Compost Programs to Incorporate Workplace Readiness Skills into Agricultural Education Curriculum
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The purpose of this project was to prepare activities and lesson plans associated with implementing a school composting program and determine how effective they were at teaching and reinforcing workplace readiness skills within agricultural education classrooms. Selected skills to focus on included communication, job specific math skills, and general employability skills. Materials created include a unit plan, nine individual lessons, activity instruction sheets and project rubrics. A survey to gather evaluation data for these materials was created, field tested, and modified to obtain more detailed data prior to implementation. A survey and materials were submitted to five middle school and five high school agricultural education teachers from the state of Virginia. Results indicated that the majority of participants felt the selected activities and materials would support workplace readiness skills within the classroom, but that most were not interested in starting their own school wide composting programs due to time and money constraints. However, due to workplace readiness skills being universal and a core component of career and technical education, participants felt that the provided materials could be modified for use within their classrooms to suit their individual programs and student needs. Based on background research and data collected through this project, it is recommended that these materials be used within agricultural education classrooms to support and strengthen workplace readiness skills within the state of Virginia and help to better prepare students for the workforce.