By: Terrie Garcia, ICDL Alum & Kallion Community Member
My work experiences range from an adult probation officer in Texas, to a university learning center director, and community college educator. My next step will be into a position with workforce education in a two-year college.
What is postsecondary education, and what does it have to do with democratic leadership? Postsecondary education is considered all educational credentials beyond a high school diploma or GED. It includes workforce micro-credentials; industry certifications; community college certificates and associate degrees; bachelors and masters degrees; along with doctoral and professional programs. The variety of options for postsecondary education is one of the key components that makes or breaks a democracy; a democracy is only as strong as the individuals who inhabit it.
In 1960, Dr. Douglas McGregor describes in The Human Side of Enterprise, the value of the democratic leader: “The outstanding fact about relationships [employee-employer] is that they involve a high degree of interdependence. Not only are subordinates dependent upon those above them in the organization for satisfying their needs and achieving their goals, but managers at every level are dependent upon all those below them for achieving their own and organizational goals.” It is ultimately this interdependence that leads to sustained growth of both employee and organization. When a democracy is developed at any level–employer, organization, community, or nation—educated individuals are more likely to make informed decisions based on their personal and professional lives. Having a variety of formal and informal postsecondary options for all learners ensures that our democracy maintains its vibrancy and spirit, inclusive of all.
As a postsecondary educator, who is a first-generation student and daughter of a mechanic, workforce education is an important career step for me. My goal is to help learners I come into contact with secure internships, apprenticeships, and other work experiences that will help them better support their communities and family. From work study positions in college (where I developed my love of learning and writing centers) to classrooms, and fabrication floors, my postsecondary learners will understand the importance of how their work and training makes the community better and our democracy stronger. This is my pledge to each of you.