Does your office look like this? A wall of credentials filled with certifications and different types of recognition from years of service to participation and completion of a workshop or training.
After reading this and other articles that state that the workforce isn’t just new graduates anymore but people reinventing themselves or revisiting old pastimes in hopes of finding a new career, I couldn’t help but think, “Orientation will look very different in a few years, if it exists at all.”
Soon enough (perhaps it is already happening at some institutions) the incoming classes will no longer be the “traditional” student coming fresh out of high school, they will be adult learners looking to get a new credential to open up new doors in new industries. They will be second round students. These incoming students will typically already have a degree of some sort, whether it be an associate degree or a doctorate, that won’t apply to the new industry. Instead, they will need to learn a new field of study with proof that they are competent a la a new credential. This is where your institution, if it hasn’t already, can find a new revenue stream through the creation of a school for professional studies.
Find some subject matter experts who understand how to teach adult learners, hire them, and market your program to this growing market segment of employed job seekers. I recently completed a program like this and my cohort was made up of people seeking a number of different things; from a retired K-12 teacher seeking to move into the college field, to college administrators looking to broaden their skills, to folks looking to take their current experience and couple it with this new certificate in hopes of creating a side hustle of consulting and training. These are the future incoming class of students you need to prepare for. They’ve been students already and now they want to develop further. They don’t need your standard orientation program, they need a welcome program to get their paperwork processed and to understand the services available to them.
With the start of a new semester if your institution offers free tuition or free credits you need to seriously consider utilizing the benefit. Depending on the credits or package, that could be thousands of dollars (literally thousands!) that are there for you that you are letting go to waste.
I don’t know about you but if someone handed me a check for $5,000 and said, “Here, go earn a certificate. We will pay for it.” I’m not going to rip of the check and say, “Sorry, I just don’t have the time.”