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The Information Gathering Process

So far, we have compiled information on projected employment from national (BLS) and state sources. We have also gathered information on average and median starting salaries for graduates of the program. We know our competition throughout the state and in our immediate vicinity. We researched the programmatic accreditation and professional licensure requirements. We attempted to survey (by phone and email) various local facilities related to our program (possible employers and clinical sites), but did not get a sufficient response to be conclusive. Consequently, we are now working on creating a "Study Group" comprised of representatives from the community and the particular profession to help us determine if there will be adequate employment opportunities now and in the future and enough available clinical sites.

In the following scenario, the proposed program is in the allied health arena. The individual involved is an independent consultant.

The allied health training school’s New Program Development Committee (NPDC) determines if the proposed program is a “natural” fit for the school. Also, the finance department decides if available resources are adequate to provide quality training to ensure student satisfaction and positive educational outcome. The NPDC hires an independent consultant to provide a through “market analysis” of community and employer need, and local and regional competition of existing programs, to determine the necessity and feasibility of the proposed new program for now and the future.

The following steps employed by the independent consultant to gather information are as follow:

1.) Use of appropriate online resources to review FLDOE CIE curriculum standards and performance expectations for the program, review appropriate associated accrediting body standards and guidelines, and review credentialing body criterion, review pending legislation and industry changes, review stated program professional organizations, and availability of CEUs; review the number of licensed or certified individuals currently in the field; local and regional demographics; population growth for area and region, list of schools offering the same or similar program locally, regionally, and statewide, and their proximity in distance and time from the school; list of current local and regional employment opportunities and long-term employment outlook; entry-level wages in the region; list of all types of employers that utilize the skills and knowledge of proposed program graduates

2.) The market survey and accompanying cover letter was faxed to a minimum of 100 community and employer contacts to determine current and future hiring needs; determine if a new program is needed in the community; determine if there are trends or changes in the industry; determine interest level in participation as an externship site mentor or advisory board member; inquire if there are preferred credentials or any changes in qualifications for employment opportunities; determine if the contact has previously hired school graduates; and tract participation and return results in a spreadsheet; drive the survey return rate with follow-up calls; prepare to analyze results

Susan Burnell

Susan - this sounds like a great process! Well thought out, true to form.

Question: On the fax to the community and employers - what % of replies do you get back?

Christopher,

The average of faxed survey return responses from targeted community and employer contacts has been between 11-12%.

I have found that a focused follow-up plan, enacted to drive return responses, is a critical element in the community and employer survey process. Personal phone calls to speak with contacts prior to faxing the survey, and follow-up reminder calls, post-fax, are productive measures to take when obtaining survey return results.

Susan Burnell

Christopher,

The average of faxed survey return responses from targeted community and employer contacts has been between 11-12%.

I have found that a focused follow-up plan, enacted to drive return responses, is a critical element in the community and employer survey process. Personal phone calls to speak with contacts prior to faxing the survey, and follow-up reminder calls, post-fax, are productive measures to take when obtaining survey return results.

Susan Burnell

Susan,

That 11%-12% is pretty decent considering some other known failures in this area. Calling before and after certainly helps that number.

Christopher Nickell

Information from the population presently served is extremely important. The information regarding the alumni is important as well.

Module 1 starts the process of gathering information to make effective program decisions. What information do you already have? How will you gather the additional information?

we have to think about adding new programs could provide many opportunities. we must collect careful research and analysis when thinking about adding the new programs. part of the information will be if there is employers available in your community to ensure the program will be helpful.

Alain,

I am sorry this was so late in posting! I did respond to this, but it must have been caught up in the internet "ether," so to speak. My recommendation was that advisory boards composed of local employers were a great way to handle this when discussing new programs.

Lisa Sharpe

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