Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

A Program Evaluation Study for a Precision Manufacturing Apprenticeship Embedded in a Traditional High School Curriculum

Malobicky, John (2018) A Program Evaluation Study for a Precision Manufacturing Apprenticeship Embedded in a Traditional High School Curriculum. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

Download (2MB) | Preview


A notable segment of high school students interested in STEM careers is underserved by the traditional college preparatory-vocational education duality structure employed by public school systems over the past decades. The mismatch between student interest in STEM vocational pathways and the “college-for-all” precept indicates that our secondary school model fails to prepare students for a large segment of high-growth occupations immediately available after high school graduation. Within the American high school, academically-minded students rarely elect CTE pathways because of the life-changing commitment they require. Often, the CTE choice removes a student from like-minded peers who share a strong affinity toward school, conflicts with extracurricular programs, and hinders the scope of electives due to limitations within the master schedule. For many, the cost to attend off-site CTE programs is too high. This tension inherent in the CTE model strains loyalties and erodes in-school opportunities beyond perceived value, yet many will opt into fields of study that provide a low return-on-investment while lucrative high-tech STEM trade careers are ignored.
This research evaluates the effectiveness of an advanced manufacturing apprenticeship program embedded in a traditional high school curriculum. In 2014, Highlands School District partnered with Oberg Industries, a world-leading manufacturer of high-precision metal products for the aerospace, medical, and tool and die sector to form the Junior Apprenticeship Advantage (JAA) program. A specific curriculum consisting of Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing (GD&T), Metrology (Measurement Science), and Advanced Geometry/Trigonometry is taught by Highlands faculty in conjunction with traditional senior year classes. Additionally, students in this program travel to Oberg’s facilities twice per month during the school year for job-shadowing experiences working with Oberg’s skilled craftspeople.
This study finds the JAA program is effective at preparing students for advanced manufacturing apprenticeship certification training. Quantitative and qualitative data from survey instruments, training records, and institutional financial documents provide evidence to compare JAA graduates directly with their otherwise similar CTE counterparts. Although JAA graduates begin at a slight deficit in manufacturing skills, results show their academic focus and intellectual range allow them to rapidly acquire industry certifications which earn them the most prestigious and coveted positions within the organization.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Malobicky, Johnjmalobicky@gmail.comjjm135
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairKelly,
Committee MemberMcClure, Maureen W.mmcclure@pitt.eduMMCCLURE
Committee MemberTrovato,
Committee MemberGarcia,
Date: 27 September 2018
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 25 April 2018
Approval Date: 27 September 2018
Submission Date: 27 September 2018
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 138
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Apprentice, Job Shadowing, Industry Partnership, College-for-All Mindset, Precision Manufacturing, Tool and Die Industry
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2018 21:46
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2018 21:46


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item