How a Bold Vision for Expansion Can Energize an Organization

Tiffany Sanderson, President of Lake Area Technical College

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While colleges across the U.S. are worried about declining enrollment, Lake Area Technical College in South Dakota is expanding.

President Tiffany Sanderson sees the value in building a vision so big, so bold that other organizations can't help but want to get involved. And in a state like South Dakota that is seeing faster than average population growth, now is the time for expansion!

In this episode, you'll discover how expanding an organization can energize the staff, customers, students and community partners. You'll learn what it takes to build enthusiasm around expansion projects, measure the right metrics, and attract key stakeholders to join the movement.

Quotable Moments:

"The number one way to get everybody excited about the future is to expand the organization."

"My gift and my passion is about helping to grow people to do their very best work in the world."

"There are tons of opportunities and not enough bodies to fill all those spots in the workforce."

3 Big Takeaways from this episode:

  1. Population expansion in a region is both a challenge and an opportunity for the workforce: There is a mismatch in our world between the skills employers need (now and in the future) and the skills people currently have. In a growing population, this gap can become exacerbated without the educational support to align skills with workforce demand. Expansion necessitates an intentional plan to develop the workforce to sustain that growth.
  2. How do you measure success? Enrollment vs Graduation rates in education: Most colleges use enrollment rates as their measurement for success. Tiffany Sanderson sees it differently: the college measures success in terms of graduation rates. That makes a lot of sense in a world where the workforce doesn't benefit unless it's getting a stream of graduates with competent skills. Over the next 7 years, Lake Area Tech's goal is to increase graduate production by 20+%. That's the kind of metric that will get partners on board with an expansion project.
  3. Want to build excitement around your vision? Share stories: Strategic goals, impact studies, and data are fine...but nothing gets people fired up like personal success stories. Tiffany shares her secrets to getting industry partners, community partners and faculty on board with an expansion project, and a key part of that is sharing the stories of students being impacted by the college. Let the students share their perspective, and others will want to get involved.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Connect with Lake Area Tech:

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