Teaching and Research to Improve the STATE's Workforce: The RAND TRI-STATE Survey

Welcome! This page will provide an overview of the purpose of the RAND TRI-STATE Workforce Preparation Survey and answer frequently asked questions about the survey for those who are being asked to complete it. If you have additional questions, please contact tristate@rand.org.

Purpose of the Survey

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Photo by Monkey Business Images/Fotolia

The RAND TRI-STATE Workforce Preparation Survey is intended to provide the instructor perspective on the key knowledge and skills emphasized in courses that are preparing students for jobs in advanced manufacturing, with a particular focus on preparation for energy-related jobs. Instructors’ responses to the survey will also shed light on the knowledge and skills that are particularly difficult for students to learn and where institutions could consider focusing more resources to provide what students need to succeed in advanced manufacturing industries.

The survey is part of a larger study conducted by RAND Corporation, a non-partisan and non-profit research organization. That larger study is taking a closer look at ShaleNET—a unique education and training partnership between employers in energy and advanced manufacturing sectors and a consortium of community colleges in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The study is particularly examining how institutions involved in ShaleNET are doing work that propels students toward greater success in energy and advanced manufacturing fields.

Frequently Asked Questions from Instructors and Institutions

  • Why should instructors complete the survey?

    To really understand how students are being prepared for jobs in advanced manufacturing, we need to hear from people who are on-the-ground, working with students in preparation programs in community colleges: instructors. Your responses matter most for helping us understand how students are being prepared and—most importantly—where they struggle and how they can be best supported.

    Your institution can benefit too! We will produce a report that provides an overview of what we learned from our instructor survey. While no institutions or instructors will be identified in public reports, the data can inform programs and policies that could provide more resources and support for the courses you teach.

  • Why was I asked to complete this survey?

    RAND is reaching out to instructors in any institutions involved in ShaleNET who teach courses addressing knowledge and skills necessary for jobs in advanced manufacturing and applied industries, with a particular emphasis on courses preparing students for jobs in energy-related fields. The information we collect from instructors like you will inform regional policymakers and education and training programs on how to produce graduates with the knowledge, skills, and abilities that employers need. By participating in this survey, you will be helping us learn needed information on how to replicate the successes of partnerships you have with local education and training providers and can help researchers can make recommendations to help ShaleNET best serve the needs of local education providers.

  • What will I be asked about in the survey?

    You will be asked questions about a few of the courses you teach that you think provide the most relevant preparation for advanced manufacturing and applied industrial jobs. You can respond about just one course you teach or more than one course. Questions ask about the knowledge and skills you address in your courses, what students have the most difficulty with, and the resources you have and need to support your instruction. The survey also contains some questions about how you partner with industry in your courses and a few questions about your own background.

  • How long will the survey take?

    The survey can take a little as 20 to 30 minutes. Should you choose to respond about more than one of your courses, the survey could take up to 40 minutes. You decide!

  • Do I have to participate in this survey?

    No. Taking part in this survey is completely voluntary; you may decline to participate, choose not answer any individual question, or stop participating at any time altogether. Nevertheless, we strongly encourage you to participate and to share your perspective and experiences as an instructor.

  • What happens to the information I give you?

    We will combine your answers with answers from other instructors. We will report the results in terms of summaries and general statistics.

  • If I wasn’t asked to complete this survey, how can I participate?

    If you would like to participate in this survey (and have not already been contacted), please email tristate@rand.org. Our helpdesk will provide you a personalized link to the survey along with an online link to the survey. When you speak to our helpdesk, please let them know the institution you are from and the program or department in which you teach.

  • Are my survey responses confidential?

    All responses will be kept confidential. The information you give us will be used for research purposes only. Your name or other facts that could identify you or your institution will not appear when the researchers present this study or publish the results. All reports will include survey results in aggregate form only, and may include unidentifiable quotes, and thus not attributable to any instructor or institution individually. We will not ask you for any personal opinions regarding your institution. Your information will not be given to other institutions.

  • Who will get the results of this study?

    Aggregated results from the survey will be shared with institutions. Aggregated results may also be shared with local government, local and national policymakers, and others who are interested in helping local industry partnerships. RAND will also report results from this research in professional journals and in a report that will be publicly available in December, 2018.

  • Who is doing this study and how is it funded?

    The study is being conducted by the RAND Corporation. RAND is a private nonprofit research organization, headquartered in Santa Monica, California, that conducts objective public policy research in many areas. The research is being funded by the National Science Foundation.

  • What if I have questions?

    If you have any questions about the survey, you can contact Julia Kaufman, the RAND Project Leader for this survey, by email at tristate@rand.org or by phone at (412) 683-2300 x4499. If you have any questions or concerns about your rights as a participant in this research, please contact the RAND Human Subjects Protection Committee: Sandra Berry, Sandra_Berry@rand.org, 310-393-0411, extension 7779.