Posted June 16, 2015 by Mark Perna
Congratulations to NEWTECH Skill Center of Spokane, WA for increasing their enrollment 26.7% after just one year of implementing TFS’s strategic enrollment and retention process! With this increase, NEWTECH has jumped from 688 to 872 students. The NEWTECH team has joined the ranks of our passionate and dedicated clients who are making a positive difference, and we’re thrilled to continue our partnership to make each successive year bigger than the last.
TFS’s enrollment and retention strategies have changed the game for hundreds of schools and educators around the country. Using foundational principles like the Light at the End of the Tunnel, the first ten days, the Enrollment Funnel, getting the right students in the right program for the right reasons, and more, NEWTECH has proven once again that these strategies are pivotal to making significant and measurable progress.
At a time when many organizations are experiencing declining enrollment, NEWTECH’s success is worth a second look. We talked to the team to get their perspective on what worked and why, and here’s what they had to share:
TFS: Prior to implementing the TFS enrollment and retention process, how would you describe your organization’s enrollment and retention culture and marketing approach?
NEWTECH: We had been relying mostly on our sending school counseling staff to recommend students for our programs. This approach left the decision up to the counselors for placement and left many students and parents out of the process as they did not know our programs were available to them.
TFS: Since we started working together, what results has NEWTECH experienced?
NEWTECH: We have the highest enrollment for this coming fall than we have ever had. This is attributed to many factors but all ties back to the strategies that Mark and TFS have helped us to implement. Our staff is dedicated and understands why they are being asked to do things differently and they welcome the challenges that the new approach brings.
TFS: As an organization, what fuels your commitment to making a positive difference for your students and community?
NEWTECH: We are dedicated to helping students connect with a personal purpose for their work and life. We use an approach that focuses on social, academic, and technical skill attainment so that students are able to take their experiences here and apply them to whatever pursuits they may take on after graduation. Career readiness takes a great deal of goal setting, vision, and passion for a particular outcome. Our students are given the tools to plan, envision, and set their own goals for success.
TFS: Which piece of the TFS strategic process would you credit as having the biggest impact on your early enrollment success?
NEWTECH: The idea of “creating a home field advantage” really stood out with our staff. How can an organization expect to be successful if they give control of the game to outside entities? Simple, they can’t…
TFS: Of course, we know a strategic plan is only as good as its implementation. What did you do to ensure that your implementation would be successful?
NEWTECH: We committed as a whole staff to taking on this process. There were weekly meetings to check in with everyone on their triumphs and trials. When staff members had issues or struggles, there were others who would come to their aid with ideas and their own approaches to the same problem. No matter what, we agreed to implement the whole plan and see what came of it. To say we were surprised at the positive return on investment so far is an understatement!
TFS: What’s the enrollment and retention culture like these days at NEWTECH? Are people catching the excitement and momentum?
NEWTECH: Our staff has embraced the enrollment and retention culture as they have begun to see firsthand the positive impacts it produces. We are now creating new strategies that will continue to build the culture of engaged, motivated students who see the light at the end of the tunnel.
TFS: What plans and refinements do you have in mind for next year?
NEWTECH: Our discussions have included a tighter window (two days vs. five) for showcase days, pushing some of our deadlines later into the spring to allow for second semester to get fully underway in our sending schools, and including an 8th grade career fair in the spring.
TFS: Any other thoughts you’d like to share?
NEWTECH: The decision to work with Mark and Tools for Schools made complete sense to me when I saw his presentation. I thought, this is exactly what we have been lacking! I am proud to say that the enrollment and retention strategies, when implemented with fidelity, work. We look forward to continuing to work with Mark and the exciting future that NEWTECH students will experience because of the hard work and dedication of our staff.
We want to thank the NEWTECH team for taking the time to share these insights, and congratulate them once again on a fabulous first year with TFS. We welcome your questions and comments in the forum… what ideas have you gleaned from this post? Let’s keep the conversation going!