Journal of Research in Technical Careers


human capital, outdoor power equipment, agricultural education, agricultural mechanics, career preparation


Adult and Continuing Education and Teaching | Secondary Education | Vocational Education


The Power, Structural and Technical Systems (PST) Career Pathway is one of eight within the Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources Career Cluster; this pathway provides the curriculum that includes outdoor power equipment content. The perceived workforce readiness and skills needed in this pathway and related future trends were analyzed for entry-level jobs within the outdoor power equipment industry. The respondents expressed concern with being able to find qualified entry-level employees. Respondents indicated that the major skill categories of interpersonal skills, communication skills, computer skills, character skills, technical competency, and their corresponding subskills, were important for entry-level employment. The respondents indicated shop experience and general work experience are important for career success, which are experiences that take place through school-based agricultural education. The areas with greatest impact on the future of the industry were equipment technology advancements, urbanization, environmental laws/policies, and the growth of technical education at the secondary and post-secondary level. Secondary agricultural educators and outdoor power equipment dealers should explore developing internships and other partnerships in order to better prepare students for entry-level positions within the outdoor power equipment industry.