Beyond Marketing to Stealth Recruitment: Creating ICT Pathways from High School to College and Work for Underrepresented Groups


National Science Foundation


Jill Denner (ETR), Gerlinde Brady (Cabrillo College), Tom Rebold (Monterey Peninsula College)


This project is building technical education pathways that motivate and prepare rural, high school students from underrepresented groups to enter and stay on information and communications technology (ICT) pathways. It involves two key strategies: building strong, sustainable partnerships across high schools, community colleges, and employers, and infusing ICT skills into digital media high school classes and aligning them with college classes and workforce needs. This “stealth recruitment” approach is in contrast to most efforts that take a marketing approach that tries to convince students of the value of ICT classes; instead it leverages students’ interests in digital media and contextualizes their learning.

The approach is being developed and pilot tested by three community colleges, in partnership with high school teachers, employers, and intermediary organizations. Data will be collected from six college faculty, six high school teachers, 120 high school students, and 2-4 employers to determine the impact and feasibility of the proposed strategy to increase diversity in ICT college classes. The findings will inform efforts to build sustainable partnerships and coherent pathways into ICT. Other impacts include providing training, support, and resources for high school teachers in ICT, and for college faculty in recruiting and retaining underrepresented students. The project will also determine whether a stealth marketing approach is effective for recruiting a more diverse student population into ICT courses and preparing and motivating them to meet workforce needs.