Magazine article Vocational Education Journal

Treat Recruiting as a Student Service

Magazine article Vocational Education Journal

Treat Recruiting as a Student Service

Article excerpt

Some school patrons and administrators, especially those who have experience in elementary and secondary education finance, may believe it's not necessary to use public funds to recruit students. Their perception comes from a background of observing programs that have little need for public funds to advertise the attributes of those programs because student attendance is required by law.

On the other hand, everyone recognizes that postsecondary schools, which serve many nontraditional students, do need to disseminate information about their programs. Prospective nontraditional students are not captives of some required educational program and do not have easy access to information from teachers and other students. Therefore, marketing vocational-technical education becomes a sound practice and bona fide use of public funds.

In most secondary schools, vocational-technical courses are elective, versus being required. So local education agencies are faced with the arduous task of attracting the required number of students needed to justify offering courses.

What makes the task especially difficult is that vocational-technical programs are supposed to be planned and implemented based on labor market supply and demand, so vocational educators frequently are required to justify offerings based on job placement of program completers. But turning out employable graduates often depends on first attracting students with appropriate vocational aptitudes and ability to learn what is being taught.

Therefore we vocational educators ask ourselves: Which is critical to maintenance of programs--enrollment of students with appropriate vocational aptitudes or placement of program completers? I say both enrollment and placement are critical to achieving quality education programs that prepare students to become competent workers.

This issue of the Vocational Education Journal features articles that describe the task of recruiting students for vocational-technical programs. Please give special attention to the excerpts from AVA's new Tech Prep Marketing Guide, which is a comprehensive listing of strategies that have been employed to establish new programs. With some modification the comprehensive plan for marketing tech prep, and the practical experiences cited, could be applied to any vocational education program.

The thing to remember when planning to market programs is this--student recruiting should involve more than filling an empty classroom chair with a body. …

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