In this final part of my 3-part Blog series Parallels: Provide Guidance, Engagement and Resources to Increase Enrollment, Retention and Referrals, I outline ways to highlight the end result – the career. As a way to recruit and to improve engagement. I also point out that you serve more than one master – the student, and the Employer.
Mind you, great care must be given never to exceed the truth. The Gainful Employment rules are stricter than ever, for good cause as many know only too well. The way they are implemented and tracked may have a lot (OK, a WHOLE LOT) of flaws, but the reasons for stricter enforcement are based in fraud and avarice that left all Career Schools tainted and the prospective students (and their parents and families) exceptionally wary.
The prospective student is selecting their Career School based on who they believe will help them be the most successful upon graduation. If you want long-term success, your school must excel in placement even more than you excel in recruitment.
For the student, the career at the end of school is the target, or at least it should be. So be sure to promote your Placement success rates, as well as what you do to help them get the job.
EVERY SCHOOL CLAIMS GREAT PLACEMENT RATES. PROVE IT.
The proverb goes “The proof of the pudding is in the eating
”. From a prospective students’ perspective, this correlates to the quality of your Placements
. Your Career School is only as good as the long-term, high-value career that they achieve upon graduation.
From the Employers perspective, this means that your Career School is only as good as the graduates you send them. If these graduates don’t have the skills, attitudes, and work ethics they require, your value to them diminishes.
During recruitment, include success stories. Communicate the depth of your commitment to making their learning experience relevant, and make certain that they understand that you’re there to go above and beyond when it comes to helping them secure a career.
You know that the ROI for Gainful Employment affects your long-term success; that’s an administrative business reality for you. In your marketing and Recruitment, clearly promote the things you do to help them secure a great career upon graduation.
Here are some useful ideas for your Career Services Department:
- Career Services should take an in-classroom role in preparing students for these experiences
- Ensure that students are receiving CURRENT and relevant training
- Ensure your faculty members spend 2-10 days every year working with industry partners (employers possibly!) to stay current in their fields;
This serves 2 purposes:
Your faculty stays current on trends in their industry and,
Your employers are regularly connected with your school!
Actively Recruit New Employers
- With email campaigns
- When meeting with prospective Employers for your Graduates, prepare a fact sheet about your school. Highlight the skills and certifications that your graduates have upon completion
- Promote Externships and Internships to build a strong reputation for turning out top-notch graduates
- Send regular updates to your employers about your School and its graduates. Keep them connected and informed
- Continually Review Placement programs:
- What do the Employers REALLY need from your graduates?
- Follow up on your graduates
- Willingly and openly accept criticism
- Bring Grads back for short refresher / knowledge / protocol revision training
- Watch out for Employer “Short-Hire”/”revolving-door” scams
- They hire your Grads on probationary low-wage 6-month trials … then let them go and hire your next batch of Graduates on probationary low-wage 6-month trials … that’s not a good employer relationship for your Graduates and its horrible for your Gainful Employment ratios.
- Instead, try adjusting your program to 1000 hours (example only) + externship, and they jointly work at the employer while going through your program. At the end, the employer can hire your certified assistant and possible receive a reduction in malpractice insurance rates.
- Be Creative
Actively help students develop skills that are critical for job placement
- In addition to being a formal part of classroom instruction, your Career Services staff members should help with:
- resume creation, job search skills, and dress-for-success days;
- hold mock interviews with actual employers
- Provide a clothing closet to provide proper attire for interviews
- Train and Guide Students about proper work ethics
- Build your own list of common complaints from your current Employers, but here are some typical challenges currently facing employers (3 seconds of Google provides this info and more):
- Poor Communication Skills: Poor grammar, bad language, inappropriate humor
- Not in my job description: Unwillingness to do anything beyond the absolute minimum
- Un-un-un: (Unreliable, untrustworthy, unprofessional) Getting to work on time, reliability, etc.
- Not a team player: Unwillingness to pitch in and work with others
- Phone, Facebook, etc.: Personal TXTing, phones and Social Media are not acceptable things to do during the workday
- Provide regular Job fairs
- If students leave without jobs, Career Services staff members continue to work with them and communicate with them regularly.
- Email questionnaires
- Keep in touch with Graduates
- Great for Gainful Employment measurement
- Offer lifetime Job Placement assistance
By bolstering your Career Services department, students can be encouraged that their future success is important to you. Confidence in your ability, and desire, to help them upon graduation and beyond, is key to securing their initial interest in your school.