CTE For Real

V. Funding for Adult Education Career Pathways

 

Introduction

Florida Eight Areas of Focus
FL#1–Program Design
  FL#2–Curriculum and Instruction
  FL#3–Professional Development
  FL#4–Student Support
  FL#5–Assessment
  FL#6–Partnerships
  FL#7–Marketing
  FL#8–Accountability

OVAE 10 Component Framework
OVAE#1–Legislation and Policies
  OVAE#2–Partnerships
  OVAE#3–Professional Development
  OVAE#4–Accountability and Evaluation Systems
  OVAE#5–College and Career Readiness Standards
  OVAE#6–Course Sequences
  OVAE#7–Credit Transfer Agreements
  OVAE#8–Guidance Counseling and Academic Advisement
  OVAE#9–Teaching and Learning Strategies
  OVAE#10–Technical Skills Assessments
Globalization continues to bring systemic changes to the traditional economic and social core of Florida and America. Technology and the offshoring of manufacturing to other countries are requiring a redefinition of jobs and the skills needed in the American workplace. The demand for educational services is higher than ever. The need for an educated workforce, rather than merely a trained workforce, has never been more important to the future of Florida. And never has there been a greater need for a sustainable revenue model for Adult Education Career Pathways (AECP).

 

These and other changes have impacted and will continue to impact the revenue levels, types, and sources for educational programs including AECP. Obtaining sustainable revenue will require a more business-oriented approach than in the past. Each decision to be made will be subject to close scrutiny by a variety of entities. Leaders will be required to develop strategic and tactical business plans that include sustainable, multiyear revenue plans.

 

Why Create a Funding Plan?

A sustainable revenue plan requires not only the start-up and initial year of operation, but a realistic view of funding over a period of years. Public-private projects require revenues from three sources—public, private, and profit—the three "P"s. The initial funding comes from public sources, which provide for the basic start-up level required to operate the program. The next "P"—private funding—includes the funds that should be used to ensure excellence and uniqueness. This level of funding enables the project to address future needs and changes while meeting current expenses. The final "P" is for profit. For any organization, program, or project to sustain itself over time, there must be more revenue than expense. All government and non-profit organizations must operate in a "profit" mode even though their revenue is not generated by for-profit activities and their goal is not financial gain.

 

Framework for an AECP Funding Plan

While the AECP funding plan will have an overall workforce, economic, and quality-of-life-to message, it should also have a set of clear measures of return on investment (ROI) for the stakeholders.

 

 

 

Philosophy of AECP Funding Collaboration

Building successful AECP funding requires developing collaborative partnerships that leverage the expertise, capabilities, capacity, and resources of a community. The partners play a role in creating and/or sustaining implementation of the project. All partners can add value to the project and may provide different types of resources including the following:
  • Staffing
  • Cash
  • Grant funds
  • Facilities
  • Equipment and tools
  • Supplies
  • Complementary services
  • Technology
  • Transportation
  • Curricula or training materials
  • Learning resources
  • Career services
Funding will come from a variety of partners and sources. Internal sources of revenue should be included.

 

Importance of an AECP Funding Plan

A systemic and strategic shift in the social and economic development of the nation and world demands that funding and sustaining instructional programs be done differently than in the past. The word sustainability was not used by educators until recently.

 

Obtaining start-up and operational funding will require a more evidence-based approach to financing programs than in the past. Evidence of leadership and business planning must be provided by those who seek the trust of stakeholders and the funds necessary to implement and sustain AECP. Today's funding entities, both public and private, are requiring a high level of detail and verification of data to ensure that the program is needed and has a real opportunity to be successful without the constant need to refund existing operations.

 

Accomplishing the objectives of the sustainable revenue plan will require the leadership and stakeholders to remain focused on the key components required for success. In addition to reviewing the budget as a control document for resource allocations, AECP leadership will need to be equally focused on the balance sheet and the ongoing revenue streams. The traditional allocation of funding will evolve into a continuous and ever-changing stream of revenue-generation events.

 

  The AECP ROI Worksheet (Resource 5.1) is intended to assist the AECP Project Manger in identifying significant stakeholders and defining and documenting potential measures of return on investment and potential resources that can be components in the development and implementation of AECP.

 

AECP Funding Team

A lead organization and contact must be established to drive the funding planning process and be responsible for the accounting and evaluation of fiscal success of the project. It is recommended that an AECP Funding Executive Committee be established to develop the plan and supervise, guide, direct, and motivate the partnering organizations. Co-chaired by the AECP Project Manager and college president, the Funding Executive Committee meets as often as necessary (on average monthly) to evaluate progress and determine the action required to maintain the sustainability, continuity, and momentum of the AECP project. The Committee often includes internal and external leadership.

 

Internal Leadership
  • College President
  • CP Project Manager
  • Academic Officer
  • Finance and Accounting
  • Grants Officer
  • Workforce Development Officer
  • Institutional Advancement Officer
  • Faculty Subject Matter Expert
  • Adult Education Leader
External Leaders
  • Workforce Investment Board Leader
  • Industry Leader(s)
  • Community-Based Organization Leader

 

Constructing a Plan for AECP Success and Sustainability

Each AECP program should be an outcome of a comprehensive and inclusive planning process. Internal audiences, as well as a variety of external audiences, should have had significant involvement in the analysis and decision making related to the need for and benefits of the new program prior to implementation. In addition to obtaining valuable input, this type of process will serve as a way to gain support and ownership for the new programs early in the development process and identify sources for sustainable resources.

 

A strategic and sustainable business/revenue plan should be developed for the AECP that documents the needs, revenue, and expenses over time for the proposed programs. The plan should provide a clear path to funding for the different stages of program development, operation, and sustainability. It should clearly define the funding sources and levels of responsibility assigned to each. The days of "if you build it they will fund" are long gone.

 

AECP Funding Plan Objectives

The start-up budget and subsequent sustainable revenue plan provide a roadmap for the development, implementation, and sustainability of the AECP. The objectives of the plan include the following:
  • Define a successful AECP and the resources required to sustain it at a level of excellence
  • Provide a means to measure and evaluate financial performance throughout the life of the project
  • Provide for the long-term security and viability of AECP through proper management of resources
  • Identify start-up and sustainable revenue sources for a successful AECP
  • Identify and quantify the expense items required to begin an AECP program
  • Identify and quantify the expense items required to sustain a AECP program
  • Utilize all available relationships and methods to raise and sustain community and industry partner and private contributor investment

 

AECP Funding Focus Areas

Colleges often indentify three general focus areas in their pursuit of AECP funding from government, community organizations, education, and/or the private sector (corporate, foundation, philanthropic).
  • AECP Development—For employers, a better trained workforce leads to lower costs, higher employee retention, greater productivity, and better economic competitiveness. The ability to launch new programs to respond promptly to evolving needs is dependent upon the ability to draw upon a source for immediate funding. Available funding is essential in empowering the college to proactively develop new AECP to certificate and degree credentials that align with emerging business and industry needs. Start-up funds are also required to create innovative incumbent workforce training programs to secure meaningful employee productivity improvements for our region's business and industry. Additionally, the College must have the capacity to respond quickly to the state's needs by investing in new initiatives, curriculum development, instructor professional development, equipment, and community outreach. In some instances, contributions to the fund may be used to leverage significant matching grants. This fund will provide the necessary resources for the college to respond to the rapidly changing needs of industry, individuals, and the community for years to come.
  • Instructional and Technology Excellence—For AECP to provide a highly qualified workforce for business and industry, students and instructors must have access to the latest equipment and technology. Keeping pace with the accelerating advancement in technology is an increasingly costly consideration for the college. Through effective hands-on instruction with industry-standard equipment and technology, students are transported to the work environment and presented with realistic "real world" problems and situations. Students are challenged to incorporate practical applied skills, critical thinking skills, and problem solving skills to ultimately "understand" and solve the problems and situations they will face in the workplace. Funding will allow AECP to continue to deliver high-quality training and instruction by providing resources for the purchase of technology, equipment, and program design to support student learning.
  • AECP Student Support and Success—The fund will enable the AECP project to support the development of the region's business and industry communities by producing graduates trained to meet the workforce requirements necessary for continued economic growth. AECP Scholarships will increase access to higher education; enhance recruitment and retention of students, particularly those who are economically disadvantaged; provide resources to lead to completion of degrees, certificates, career academies, and career skills programs; and offer assistance to students who do not qualify for federal and state funding sources. Funding would support student needs for tuition, fees, books, equipment, childcare, and transportation. Efforts will focus on supporting:

    • Champions: Provide funding to students graduating from the region's high schools to support enrollment, promote the value of higher education, and build awareness of AECP opportunities.
    • Campus Scholars: Support students who have completed a minimum of 24 credit hours of instruction who are enrolled in a transfer-oriented program seeking to further their higher education at a partnering college or other institution.
  Resource 5.2 is designed to help the AECP Funding Executive Committee review AECP impact, development and funding considerations, and clarify a response and roles.

 

AECP Support Tool Worksheets

To support the development of an AECP Funding Plan, four support worksheets have been created:
  •   Sustainable Revenue Budget Worksheets (Resource 5.3)—A tool to assist the college in defining resource requirements and sources and methods of funding.
  •   Monthly Revenue Statement (Resource 5.4)—A tool to assist the college in monitoring and evaluating fiscal performance and progress related to budgetary considerations.
  •   Sustainable Revenue Plan (Resource 5.5)—A tool to assist the college in creating a multiyear plan to recognize revenue sources and operation expenses.
  •   Example: Physical Therapy Assistant Equipment List (Resource 5.6)—A tool to assist the college as it considers the cost of establishing start-up of an AECP.

Start-Up Budget Overview

The start-up budget may be the largest influx of revenue for the program for some time to come. Careful consideration should be given to each purchase to make sure each dollar provides the highest quality and longest shelf life for each item and/or service. The challenge is to develop a high-quality short-term start-up budget without becoming short-sighted. The focus must remain on obtaining the greatest value and quality for each dollar and positioning for the future. It should never be about spending the budget.

 

Funding the start-up can be one of the most difficult challenges. It is imperative that students experience learning using industry-standard equipment, and that can be costly. An additional challenge is to avoid investing in technology that is obsolescent or soon will be. With the rate of technological innovation impacting every occupation, what used to be considered a long-term capital expense is becoming a supply budget that must be constantly refreshed or replaced.

 

The college cannot count solely on historically reliable internal resources such as earmarks from tax funds. The college must consider external sources and develop a strong case for funding to capture cash; in-kind equipment, technology, and supplies; and staffing support. With the economic pressures placed on business and industries, private sources of funding for industry-specific programs should not be the sole source of start-up funds. Start-up resources are likely to be the result of commitment from the college and multiple stakeholders in the community. Categories of budgeting considerations for the start-up phase include the following:
  • Staffing and administrative support
  • Community needs assessment
  • Career Pathway development
  • Student support funding
  • Curriculum development
  • Recruitment, marketing, and public relations
  • Facilities, technology, tools, and equipment
The AECP start-up budget must be based on a strategic view of where the occupational area is going to be in the next three to five years. With some technology becoming obsolete before it reaches the marketplace, depreciation and obsolescence should be included in the initial start-up budget. If they are not part of the start-up and all subsequent revenue plans, the Career Pathways will become non-competitive in the educational marketplace and useless to business and industry.

 

Funding for Sustainable AECP Operations

Educational leaders are under increasing pressure to address declining educational, social, and economic conditions in their communities. The focus is often on finding and implementing new solutions to old problems and not on sustaining existing programs. The "what is next" mindset of always looking for resources to keep up with the new and different workforce needs must be shared with a view of sustaining a level of excellence in all programs.

 

The sustainable revenue plan and budget should be developed at the greatest degree of inclusion and detail possible. Every effort should be made to identify and accurately project revenue streams from all sources and by all available methods. Below is a list of possible funding streams that should be considered in the development of the plan. The items include the following:
  • Tuition (credit)
  • Enrollment non-credit
  • Student facility fees
  • Student program fees
  • Grants
  • Taxes
  • Operational savings
  • Operational redirect
  • Fees for training
  • Fees for services
  • Partnership sponsors
  • Private donations
  • Loans
  • Fines
  • Sale of goods
  • Bonds
Due diligence and research should replace estimating whenever possible when determining the cost (expense) in implementation of the AECP. Examples for expense include the following items:
  • AECP plan development
  • Instructional design
  • Curriculum development
  • AECP lead staff
  • Student support service
  • Support staffing
  • Professional development
  • Marketing and public relations
  • Information technology
  • Instructional equipment
  • Supplies
  • Facilities
  • Utilities
  • Travel
  • Repair
  • Remodeling
  • Depreciation
  • Obsolescence
Sustaining a program after the newness and excitement have passed is where true leadership is required. It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of newness only to find that newness has an ever-decreasing shelf life with traditional funding sources. Each new AECP comes with new hope for the students and the community. With enough excitement and pressure, traditional funding entities could be persuaded to provide initial funding for the program without a plan for sustaining the program over time at a level of excellence.

 

Without a sustainable revenue source, the start-up budget will soon become the start-downward budget. Revenue streams that do not sustain excellence are ensuring that the project will have a slow and painful existence, if not death.

 

The sustainable revenue plan and budget worksheets should remain living documents throughout the life of the AECP. They should be regularly reviewed and updated as events and changes take place to either document.

 

 


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