School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Craig B Bailey


Community College of the Air Force, Employability, Hope Theory, Military Education, Transition Theory, Veteran


Adult and Continuing Education | Community College Leadership | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Psychology | Higher Education | Other Education


The purpose of this single embedded case study was to answer the central question: How do CCAF graduates perceive the impact of their degree in enhancing their employability for the civilian workforce? Because veterans have historically suffered from high unemployment (Kleykamp, 2013), veteran employment is a highly politicized problem considering the large number who will soon be discharged (Burnett-Zeigler, Valenstein, Ilgen, Blow, Gorman, & Zivin, 2011; Humensky, Jordan, Stroupe, & Hynes, 2013; Kleykamp, 2013; Loughran, 2014). This study used a theoretical framework of the transition theory to better understand the issues airmen faced when leaving the Air Force as well as hope theory to understand their motivations to complete their degree. Participants included currently serving enlisted airmen who were within a year of transitioning out of the Air Force and airmen who have separated/retired within the last two years. At the time of separation or retirement, the airmen had completed a CCAF degree. Data were gathered using field notes, interviews, a survey, and focus groups. The two groups of airmen were used for a cross-case synthesis in order to compare the changes in perceptions between the groups. Data analysis resulted in four directly related themes and three indirectly related ones. The former included the followings: a. The CCAF degree provides an impetus for further education; b. A college degree and certifications along with experience and skills are crucial to being viewed as employable; c. Preparing early and often, including attaining a degree and/or certification, is vital for a successful transition to the civilian workforce; and, d. Currently serving airmen valued the CCAF degree differently than those who had already separated/retired.