Sherman, A., and Sorensen, T. (2020). A national examination of the predictors of volunteer utilization in school-based agricultural education. Journal of Agricultural Education, 61(2), 339-357. https://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2020.02339

Despite the potential benefits of utilizing volunteers in SBAE programs, volunteer utilization among SBAE teachers has received little attention in the literature in recent years, especially on a national level. A national random sample of SBAE teachers were surveyed to determine current behaviors and perceptions as well as predictors of volunteer utilization. The average SBAE program receives 56 hours of volunteer support and 38 volunteers in a single year across the country. While former students make up the majority of volunteers, parents of current students contribute the most hours to SBAE programs. Volunteers are used most often on advisory committees and for CDE training. School district policies such as background checks and paperwork was the biggest challenge to utilizing volunteers. Gender, community type, number of SBAE teachers in the program, and number of years teaching in the community accounted for 20% of the variance in total volunteer utilization and 13% in total volunteer hours. Years teaching in the community and number of teachers in the SBAE program were significant predictors of both total volunteer hours and total number of volunteers. The findings have implications for developing and maintaining volunteer programs in SBAE. It is recommended that more research be conducted to determine how volunteer utilization can reduce stress and workload challenges among SBAE teachers. Further recommendations and implications are discussed in the paper.

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