In the face of escalating demand and limited resources, we hear career tech administrators across Ohio grappling with a persistent challenge: "We don't have enough room in our programs."
This refrain has echoed from many of you for several years, manifesting in waiting lists for eager students, private partners clamoring for skilled graduates, and classrooms needing updated equipment while bursting at the seams.
The surge in demand for career tech education in Ohio reflects a broader societal shift towards recognizing the value of practical, hands-on skills. Like a bustling restaurant that gains popularity for its unique and delectable dishes, the word has spread and now there's a line out the door with patrons eagerly waiting for a seat at the tables.
Similarly, as demand for career tech centers has evolved, the patrons and partners are seeking more. Putting together a sustainable financial plan to adequately meet the growing demand while also staying up to date with modern advancement in programming is no small task. The required finances for physical space, modernized equipment, and maintaining it all can hinder the ability of career tech centers to accommodate all aspiring learners. It's similar to the restaurant's management trying to find ways to expand the dining area to accommodate the increasing number of patrons without compromising the quality of service or the creativity of the chef.
The need for added facility space and improved equipment without taking resources
away from the operation means Career Tech Centers have to have a financial game plan.
FIRST, COLLABORATIVELY IDENTIFY GENUINE CAPITAL ASSET NEEDS
The first crucial step in achieving financial viability amidst growth is the collaborative
identification and understanding of genuine capital asset needs. This entails a comprehensive assessment of existing facilities, equipment, and technological requirements. By documenting the current state and anticipating future needs, career tech centers can make informed decisions. This allows administration to address immediate challenges while laying the groundwork for sustainable expansion. The process of identifying genuine capital asset needs ensures that the allocated resources align with the institution's evolving objectives.
SECOND, ESTABLISH CLEAR TARGETS FOR GROWTH
In order to effectively navigate the surge in demand, clear targets for growth need to be established. Whether it is by expanding programs, increasing student enrollment, or modernizing facilities, setting realistic and measurable goals provides a roadmap for strategic decision-making. Clear targets not only guide resource allocation but also aid in securing funding and in ensuring that growth efforts align with the institution's overarching mission.
Clear targets for growth empower administrators to prioritize initiatives that contribute to the long-term success of the school.
FINALLY, ALIGN FINANCES FOR SUSTAINABLE GROWTH
Aligning finances to meet and sustain growth targets is the third critical component for financial viability. Taking a collaborative approach involves strategic financial planning that goes beyond immediate investments. Whether seeking assistance from external sources like the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) for a new campus or optimizing existing budgets for programmatic growth, a strategic alignment of finances is imperative.
An effective long term finance plan aligned to the targets, is essential to not only address immediate needs but also to ensure the long-term sustainability of career tech centers in Ohio. While it is all easier said than done, the good news is schools don’t have to do this on their own.
Perhaps by trade I have a bias, but decades as a school treasurer and now as a financial advisor have taught me that sustainable financial planning for schools is best done by engaging a large network to form a plan. Listening, collaborating, and planning with all of the stakeholders at the table builds a financial plan that gets the right things done at the right time. And it offers a sustainable kind of flexibility that keeps the organization moving even as changes occur. Do not go it alone.
Bring in your team, your community, and the experts that can build a financial plan
to help meet your needs, whatever they may be.
CAREER TECH CENTERS IN OHIO MAY PROACTIVELY ADDRESS THE CHALLENGES OF ESCALATING DEMAND BY CRAFTING A COLLABORATIVE GAME PLAN FOR SUCCESS.
By collaboratively identifying genuine capital asset needs, establishing clear growth targets, and aligning finances strategically, our career tech centers can confidently meet their growing demands, providing quality education to aspiring learners and fulfilling the expectations of both students and industry partners.
About the author:
Daniel Schall is a licensed school treasurer and registered municipal advisor who specializes in capital planning for Bradley Payne Advisors LLC. Dan has 24 years as a practitioner in public finance and can be reached at email@example.com or 937.524.4217. Bradley Payne is proud to be a sponsor and partner with OACTS.