An assessment of recruitment and training practices of the National FFA Livestock Career Development Event
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Career Development Events (CDE’s) are FFA activities that are used to showcase knowledge and skills gained by agricultural education students. These competitive venues are useful teaching tools for agricultural education teachers and can serve as a great recruitment opportunity for these teachers. This dissertation investigates and assesses recruitment and training practices used in 2005 National FFA Livestock CDE. One hundred fifty-five FFA members from 40 states participated in this census study. Forty-three teams registered to participate in the 2005 National FFA Livestock CDE. Ninety-three percent of the contest participants responded to the survey. The 2005 participants of the National FFA Livestock CDE completed a researcher-designed questionnaire. The first section contained demographic variables such as age, gender, and population of community. The second section of the survey dealt with how the students were recruited to be a member of their FFA chapter's livestock judging team. Students reported which factors were most important and least important in terms of their recruitment to the Livestock CDE team on a 16 question four-point Likert-type scale. The third section of the survey consisted of training practices that were used to train team members for the 2005 National FFA Livestock CDE. Participants reported how beneficial certain training practices were in their preparation for the contest on 15 Likert-type scale items. The researcher found that there was a moderate correlation between the recruitment factor competitiveness and team emblem earned at the contest. There was also a moderate correlation between working out with college livestock judging teams as a training practice and team emblem and moderate correlations existed between the demographic variables of years of involvement in livestock judging, prior livestock judging experience, and 4-H and junior FFA livestock judging experience as they relate to team emblem. Communication scores had a substantial correlation with team emblem and cognitive and evaluation scores both posted moderate correlations with their relationship to team emblem. Regression analysis was used to predict factors leading to a gold emblem placing at the National FFA Livestock CDE. Competitiveness and good study skills were significant recruitment factors in predicting team emblem. Working out with college livestock judging teams proved to be a positive training practice while video judging practices yielded negative significant results. Four demographic variables were significant in the regression model. Number of years involved in livestock judging, gender, and grade point average all showed a positive impact on predicting team emblem. Participants who reported they were best at judging cattle saw a negative impact on team emblem. Recommendations include developing a teacher resource guide for training CDE teams and distributing findings to current and pre-service agriculture education teachers. Further research is recommended to follow-up on participant’s post-secondary education choices and their career choice based on participation in the National FFA Livestock CDE.