Workforce Development Division (WDD) staff attended three conferences in early December. American Culture and Language Institute Program Manager Silvana Barretto (LO), who is also the “Workforce Link” catalog lead/designer, attended the Augusoft Lumens User Summit in New Orleans. The summit allowed colleges to explore new strategies and industry best practices and gain additional insight on upcoming features. Barretto and the “MyWorkforce” team successfully implemented Augusoft’s online registration system for the fall 2015 semester, and the initial response has been very positive. In fact, NOVA’s “MyWorkforce” homepage design was recognized among the three best Lumens homepages.
Directly after the Augusoft Lumens Summit, the LERN Conference was also held in New Orleans, and featured best new ideas from LERN that WDD can implement in 2016. Several pages of NOVA’s “Workforce Link” catalog were used as part of the “Best Brochure Ideas for 2016,” and Barretto was pleased to report that WDD course cross-promotion and “4 for 3” employer registration incentive were among the shared best practices. Also, the “Need a Guest Speaker?” feature was popular among other attendees, as it drew attention to NOVA’s WDD expert instructors and credibility in the field.
IT Program Developer Scott Wood (LO) attended workshops on program development at LERN. Many of the LERN standards for course proposals and new course guidelines are already being met by NOVA’s WDD. In the “What’s New in Teaching” session, Wood learned that another trend is “blended” (also known as “hybrid”) courses. According to Wood, “We are way ahead of the curve on this one.”
Wood, along with Health Sciences Program Developer Katie Jennings (LO), learned about elements for new program development at LERN. According to Wood, program development is not only about the data that drives a need for a new course at NOVA, “…if there are other training providers – who have established, reputable programs -you are doing yourself a disservice by trying to compete with them by offering the same program. I think we sometimes believe we can/should be all things to all people. I think asking ‘do they want it from us’ would be a great reality check.”
Other takeaways from LERN included STEM course development, which is includes arts to become STEAM; Zombie-themed summer camps continue to be a huge seller nationwide; stress management seminars, especially targeted to first responders, among many others.
WDD Brand and Graphics Specialist Tammy Raabe also attended several sessions at LERN centered around integrated marketing and promotion best practices. Raabe’s key takeaways include the challenges associated with being a very large, geographically diverse community college that must address hyper-local market segmentation in a high-tech regional economy. Much of NOVA’s outreach is centered around social media trends and best practices. According to one workshop on social media tools and techniques, “When times are good, participate. When times are tough, participate more.”
Following the LERN Conference, the Virginia Community College System Hire Education Conference was held December 9 to 11 in Roanoke, Virginia. NOVA was well represented, and WDD staff presented three workshops for the conference.