Magazine article Vocational Education Journal

New Members: The Lifeblood of AVA

Magazine article Vocational Education Journal

New Members: The Lifeblood of AVA

Article excerpt

As we move into the new year, our association must continue to lead vocational-technical education with proactive strategies aimed at developing the best system for our students.

With additional workforce training responsibilities being assigned to governors through block grants, their importance in our efforts to serve our students will be even more critical. Approximately 20 new governors were elected in 1994 and 6 or more could be elected in 1996. They will be looking for ways to make workforce training more efficient and less costly-as well as lessen the bureaucracy involved in delivering it. Decision making will move from Washington, D.C., to each state.

It is critical that we organize and increase our membership to be prepared to lead this effort state by state. Our membership must have the tools and experience to work with governors in developing their strategic plans to deliver vocational-technical education. To prepare for this new partnership, we must continue to increase our membership, membership recruitment efforts and AVA product lines.

AVA membership had been declining for nine years until 1994. With the work of Gerry Kennedy, assistant executive director for membership, his staff and the AVA membership committee, our rolls have started to grow. Membership growth has continued for a second consecutive year.

Recognizing that the association must be customer-driven, AVA has been conducting a member needs survey. More than 70 percent of the members, former members and non-members surveyed cited representation before Congress and the Administration as a main reason for membership satisfaction. If this is true at the national level, it will be of even greater importance at the state level when Congress signs off on pending block grant legislation. AVA, with the state associations, can provide the structure, experience and technical assistance necessary to help win funding for career development and education.

An aging membership. It is not surprising to any of us that the survey showed our membership is aging. Only 13.7 percent of the respondents were less than 40. While your membership in your division, region and state association is becoming more experienced, this also means we are not recruiting the new, younger educators to replace the seasoned leaders now involved in legislative efforts for vocational-technical education.

We must offer new opportunities for involvement that will appeal to potential members. Since 93.7 percent of respondents indicated they regularly read the Vocational Education Journal, why not share it with a potential member? The Journal is an excellent source of timely professional information and coverage of relevant issues. It should be used as a tool to recruit new members and get them involved. …

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