Examines seven college-automotive industry partnerships that are part of the Automotive Manufacturing Technical Education Collaborative (AMTEC) and provides recommendations on how businesses and community colleges can collaborate to strengthen their partnerships and increase the U.S.’ competitiveness in the automotive industry.

“In order for the United States to keep its leadership position or competitiveness in the global economy, the workforce must keep pace with the knowledge and innovation in advanced manufacturing and other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines. A key challenge for automotive manufacturers will be maintaining a flexible workforce and developing new worker competencies that enable them to develop high performance work organizations that create jobs and value-added products and services...Highly skilled engineers are part of the solution, but a need also exist for millions of middle-skilled (mid-level) workers and technicians for careers in emerging and high-growth industries such as health care, biotechnology, nanotechnology, clean energy, and advanced manufacturing...These types of workers generally have an associate degree or industry-recognized postsecondary credential, yet institutions of higher education are not producing the number of students needed by employers...Higher education institutions have recognized a growing demand for middle-skilled students, particularly during tough economic times and the changing nature of workforce demographics” (p.3).

The research is guided by the following three research questions:

“1. What are the key factors and stages of collaboration for the AMTEC college/industry partnerships as seen through the research of [Wilder Collaboration Factors Inventory] WCFI and as used by [James] Austin?

2. What is the difference in perception of the stages of collaboration in terms of strengths and value between the AMTEC industry and education partners? Which of the factors has the strongest relationship to Austin’s collaboration stages?

3. What recommendations can be made for strengthening college/industry collaborations based on the collaborative factors and framework in the research?” (p.6-7).

To answer the above questions, the study conducted case studies of seven AMTEC college-automotive industry partnerships. The author conducted an electronic survey “that required community college and industry partners to reflect on their partnership” (p.63). “Two weeks after the survey closed telephone interviews were recorded for those that agreed to participate” (p.66). After discussing its research design and methodology, the study then presents findings from its data analysis in chapters 4 and 5.

(Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Full publication title: Key Factors and Stages of Collaboration Within Community College/Automotive Industry Sector Partnerships

Major Findings & Recommendations

“The research findings were organized to report the participant perceptions for each of Austin’s Collaboration Continuum categories: (a) collaboration mindset, (b) strategic alignment, (c) collaboration value, (d) resource exchange, (e) contextual learning, (f) personal connection, (g) progress communication, (h) focused attention, (i) mutual expectations and accountability, and (j) level of engagement. Austin’s three stages of collaboration are philanthropic, transitional, and integrated” (p.72). “The research findings revealed differences of perceptions between each local community college’s partners and that of their automotive manufacturing partner. A difference of more than one measure was found to be significant for the study and required further analysis” (p.72-73). In addition to these findings, the study also offers recommendations about how these partnerships may be strengthened. For example, it notes that “Engaging both partners in a shared vision and mission will enable them to overcome attitudes resistant to collaboration and begin to realize their full potential. To accomplish this, it will be important to engage top management to ensure they are working toward a shared vision” (p.129). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)