Tuesday / November 29, 2016
By Jacque Goodman
Help wanted … the signs are everywhere! As one walks into the grocery store, convenience store or restaurants, many are looking for HELP. Even with fewer people, organizations try to maintain the same level of service. From this point forward, service is going to be what boosts top companies above the competition. Markets have become ultra competitive; competition for employees, for services and programs has dramatically changed the focus for many organizations, including Iowa Valley Continuing Education.
For years, Iowa Valley Continuing Education (IVCE) has been providing personal and professional enrichment programs ranging from dance classes to cooking and everything in between. Much has changed over time, and now many of the options IVCE offers can be found free online or at a reduced price, leaving us with unfilled classrooms. All this is illustrated by our 20.64% class cancellation rate; this rate is even higher in the outlying areas of the District we serve.
Over the past few years, IVCE began shifting roles and responsibilities of staff to concentrate on the needs of local employers and the increasing demands for workers. As IVCE staff travels and talks to community stakeholders, this is the number one concern we hear. In response to the diverse needs of our employers, IVCE leads several initiatives:
- Sector Partnerships – IVCCD is partnering with several employers in healthcare, manufacturing, agriculture and other areas.
- Career Pathway initiatives – IVCCD gives students early insight into what a career in their chosen field looks like and allows them to build career-specific skills and competencies that can set them apart when looking for a job, or when continuing on to postsecondary education. It’s another way IVCCD and our partners can help prepare individuals for today’s evolving workforce.
- Intermediary partnerships – IVCCD is continually looking for ways to connect our high school students with careers and with employers through job shadows.
- Pre-employment training programs – IVCCD customizes coursework for a specific employer or group of employers to provide focused training leading directly to employment.
It’s important to note that IVCE leads these efforts with fewer staff while trying to maintain the same level of service and support in other areas important to our mission. This is where IVCE needs your help! IVCE’s one-year plan includes engaging key stakeholders in local communities to provide input to future programming and services. IVCE’s commitment is to provide opportunities that are strategically aligned with local communities’ needs. Engagement of key stakeholders focused on community needs began two months ago and will continue through spring 2017. During this time, programs in specific areas may appear lighter than normal; however these decisions have been made to minimize cancelations and maximize future programming options.
Through extensive planning, IVCE’s programs and services in all areas will change for the positive. We are asking for your patience as we shift our efforts strategically and collect input that can be positively reflected in the changes moving forward.