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Methodology

Overview

The Workforce Opportunity Project study was conducted among 100 business owners and managers in the EKCEP district. A stratified random sample of businesses in the Healthcare, Mining, Construction, and General Business fields were selected for inclusion in the study. Employers were screened to ensure eligibility and were interviewed one-on-one by GCDF professionals (Global Career Development Facilitator) who live in eastern Kentucky. The survey was conducted from July 2009 through July 2010.

Sample

A stratified random sampling plan was selected for this project. This was selected over a pure random sampling plan to ensure that an adequate number of interviews were conducted with targeted industries in the region.

Three Industries of Focus

Discussions with Dr. Ron Crouch in 2009 led to the decision to select focus on three key industries. Dr. Crouch, who was the director of the Kentucky Data Center (and now with the Kentucky Workforce Investment Board), provided data that indicated future growth for eastern Kentucky in the following industries:

  • Heath Care: SIC codes 80. Includes hospitals, clinics, medical offices, nursing homes, etc.
  • Mining: SIC codes 12-14. Includes coal and mineral extraction.
  • Construction: SIC codes 15-17. Includes Residential, commercial construction, contractors, etc.

 

These industries currently represent approximately 23% of the employers in eastern Kentucky.

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To ensure that interviews were representative of the entire EKCEP district, quotas were established based on the distribution of employers by county. The table below shows this distribution at the inception of the study in 2009.

 

EKCEP Employer Distribution

 

 

 

Distribution by Industry 

County

 

Healthcare

Construction

Mining

Bell

 

6.3%

5.7%

4.6%

Breathitt

 

4.0%

2.8%

 

Carter

 

5.7%

2.8%

1.1%

Clay

 

3.4%

2.8%

 

Elliott

 

1.1%

0.7%

 

Floyd

 

7.4%

11.3%

7.4%

Harlan

 

8.6%

9.2%

13.1%

Jackson

 

1.1%

2.1%

1.1%

Johnson

 

4.6%

12.8%

1.7%

Knott

 

2.3%

2.8%

6.9%

Knox

 

3.4%

5.0%

0.6%

Lawrence

 

2.9%

0.7%

 

Lee

 

0.6%

2.1%

0.6%

Leslie

 

3.4%

1.4%

4.6%

Letcher

 

5.1%

3.5%

12.0%

Magoffin

 

1.7%

3.5%

1.7%

Martin

 

1.1%

2.1%

8.6%

Menifee

 

0.6%

 

 

Morgan

 

1.1%

2.8%

 

Owsley

 

1.1%

0.7%

 

Perry

 

13.1%

7.8%

12.0%

Pike

 

19.4%

16.3%

23.4%

Wolfe

 

1.7%

0.7%

0.6%

 

General Business

In addition to the Healthcare, Construction, and Mining industries, interviews were conducted with business leaders in a wide variety of other businesses. This “General Business” category of business excluded entities in government and retail sectors.

Replacement Procedure

Some businesses which were randomly selected for inclusion in the study were unable to or declined to participate. Those businesses were replaced with a random selection of a business in the same industry and in the same county. If there was not a replacement company available in the same county, one was selected from an adjoining county.

Quotas

Quotas were established as shown in the following table, along with the number of interviews obtained in the study.

 

Quota

Completed Interviews

Healthcare

25

25

Construction

25

22

Mining

10

10

General Business

40

43

Total

100

100

 

Recruitment Process

Selected employers were sent a letter via U.S. mail announcing the project and requesting their participation. In the following few days, employers were contacted via telephone by an interviewer.

The interviewer asked to speak to the person in charge of staffing decisions at the company. This was often the company owner or president, or a human resources professional.

Each respondent was screened to ensure that he or she was the person most responsible for staffing decisions and able to complete the questionnaire.

Once the respondent agreed to participate, a packet of information was mailed to him/her. The packet contained the following:

  • A cover letter explaining the study and thanking them for their participation
  • The self-administered portion of the questionnaire
  • A glossary which provided explanations of terms and concepts used in the survey

This was followed up by a call from a GCDF, who scheduled a face to face appointment.

The respondents were asked to complete the questionnaire prior to the face to face interview.


Face-to-Face Interview

The GCDF met with the employer to conduct the face-to-face interview. These sessions were held at the employer’s place of business.

The face-to-face interviews were conducted as follows:

  • The GCDF reviewed and clarified information previously completed by the employer.
  • Employers were asked to identify those skills and traits which they found lacking in job candidates.
  • Employers were asked to indicate the skills, traits, and training/education needed for new jobs planned for the company in the next five years.

Data Entry

Once the face-to-face interview was completed, the GCDF interviewer collected all survey forms and within 24 hours entered the responses into an online form.

The Questionnaire

The survey instrument was developed by Career Span with direction from EKCEP. This questionnaire included the following sections:

  • Employer classification information.
  • Employer classification information.
  • Number of employees by position type.
  • Skills and traits needed for current positions.
  • Deficiencies observed in employee traits and skills.
  • Education levels of current employees.
  • Number of new jobs to be added in the next five years by position type.
  • Skills, traits, and education/training needed for future positions.
  • Market outlook questions; open-ended response.

Analysis

The data were cleaned and verified and then were machine-tabulated. Cross-tabulation reports were produced which provide detailed responses for each survey question by the total sample and by each analysis group. These reports were provided under separate cover and may be requested from EKCEP.

The analysis focuses on several key analysis groups. The table below shows these groups along with the number of employers in each group and the associated margin of error at the 90% confidence level.

The margin of error value is an estimate of the potential sampling error. A survey represents the population at large but does not include all members. Therefore, there is a chance that the employers surveyed do not represent the population at large. Fortunately, the chance of such error can be estimated. These values in the table suggest that if the study were repeated 100 times, the results would fall within the estimated margin of error on 90 of those occasions. A smaller margin of error estimate generally suggests that the users of the data can have more confidence in the decisions based on the survey findings.

Analysis Group

Sample Size (n=)

Estimated Margin of Error at 90%
(+/- x percentage points)

Total Sample

100

+/- 8.2

Healthcare Employers

25

+/- 19.4

Mining Employers

10

+/- 25.7

Construction Employers

22

+/- 20.6

General Business

43

+/- 12.5

 

GCDF Interviewer Protocol and Training

In June 2009, all GCDF interviewers attended a four hour training designed to prepare them to interview employers. A standard interviewing manual (64 pages) was published and given to each interviewer including the following contents:

  • The project timeline                                                                                                                
  • Interview cycle flowchart
  • Initial call dialogue
  • Actual interview protocol including interviewing etiquette
  • Entering results into database
  • Completing interviewer checklist
  • Sending interview data to Career Span                                                                                                                                                            

 

Each interviewer was paid after each completed interview according to a contract price determined before the project.


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