Exploration of alumni perceptions regarding career development and impact of the Indiana 4-H program
The 4-H program is the largest youth development program in the United States, involving more than six million participants. Operating through Purdue Extension, Indiana 4-H strives to provide educational opportunities for youth to develop life skills and qualities that may positively influence their community and world. This qualitative case study was a response to the absence of updated research and evaluation of the Indiana 4-H Youth Development Program. Using an embedded design and semi-structured interviews, the study sought to explore the potential relationship between 4-H experiences and the career development and decisions of six Indiana 4-H alumni from the class of 2005. The study revealed a list of skills perceived as necessary in the workforce and the value of experiences and task approach skills in career development. Regarding the Indiana 4-H Program, participants perceived 4-H as an opportunity to develop life skills, resulting in a positive perception of the Indiana 4-H Program overall. Practical recommendations for Indiana 4-H include exploring specific audiences, increase marketing or communication of additional 4-H involvement opportunities, additional emphasis on health-related life skill development, and developing an Indiana 4-H alumni network. Implications for this study include similar research be conducted using a longitudinal or mixed methods design, with the goal of reaching all stages of human development as well as new audiences within the 4-H Youth Development Program.
Talbert, Purdue University.
Agricultural education|Social studies education|Vocational education
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