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Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

W. Hal Knight

Committee Members

Carla E. Warner, Nancy Dishner, Russell F. West


The purpose of this case study was to examine the perceived benefits, economic and personal, attributable to the attainment of higher levels of education as sought by displaced employees from the Levi Strauss Johnson City, Tennessee plant that was closed in 1999. Data was collected through personal interviews, focus group meetings and a standardized questionnaire with a total of 18 participants. All of the participants had successfully completed an Associates degree program at Northeast State Community College. They ranged in ages from 33 to 60 and had worked at Levi Strauss’s between 7 and 27 years.

All of the meetings were tape-recorded and the contents of these tapes were transcribed and analyzed using Glaser and Strauss’s (1967) constant comparative method. The primary motivational factor that guided them in their pursuit of additional training and education was to provide them with the skills necessary to broaden their opportunities to secure work in an industry other than factory work. While exploring the ways in which they made their decisions as to what academic fields of study that they were going to pursue, shortcomings in career and academic advisement emerged. As new adult learners, discussions detailing their fears and apprehensions about returning to school evolved and suggestions were provided to ease this transition for other displaced workers who might choose to follow the path to higher education. The perceived benefits that evolved from their experience included: an elevated sense of self confidence and personal pride; improved relationships with parents and children based on a heightened level of respect; the confidence and ability to better direct and guide their children’s futures; an enlightened awareness of the world and their place in it; and new jobs from which they were confident that they could make a difference in the lives of others and find personal satisfaction in the activities that lead to a sense accomplishment.

Recommendations for future opportunities included industry and educational relationships to maximize employee opportunities upon displacement; educational enrollment recruitment opportunities designed specifically for displaced adult learners; and methods for increased advisement and counseling for displaced adult learners. Additional qualitative research was also recommended.

Document Type

Dissertation - restricted


Copyright by the authors.