Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Adult, Career and Higher Education

Major Professor

Victor Hernandez-Gantes, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Johanna Lasonen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Yi-Hsin Chen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Robert Sullins, Ed.D.


Academic skills, Soft skills, Hard skills, Skill set integration, Carroll’s model


The construction industry is an essential component of the U.S. economy, yet even amid good wages, construction companies are having trouble finding enough individuals who are ready for work in the industry, and they fear they will not be able to do so in the future because training options for potential workers are inadequate. Better training options are needed. Much research has pointed to soft and academic skills as necessary skills for successful workers that are missing from worker preparation programs, but little has been done to establish an actual correlation between these skills and workforce readiness.

In this study, the underlying premise was that students who spend more time on learning tasks are more engaged and will be more likely to be successful in school. As such, time on task (TOT) was defined as the time construction students spent in school preparing for competition at SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC). TOT was measured for three skill sets: academic, soft, and hard skills. The results were correlated with student success at NLSC to determine if related preparation led to increased success in the competition (the proxy for workforce readiness in this study). The results across skills sets showed that competitors at this high level of competition spent a high percentage of their TOT integrating the skill sets. In addition, multiple hierarchical regression analyses were performed with the TOT in the three subscales and competition placement. Overall, related results suggested some limited correlation between skill set integration and final placement at NLSC. In this regard, it is possible that the homogeneity of the population likely limits the generalizability of results.