SUBCATEGORY THREE: KEY STAKEHOLDER NEEDS
Determining key external stakeholder groups (e.g., employers, alumni, community)
Partnerships with government agencies, economic development councils, and area chambers of commerce make the College an important resource in the regional economy. A variety of relationships with and involvement in community organizations contribute to the determination of key external stakeholder groups. College leadership commits significant time and financial resources serving on regional economic development councils, area chambers of commerce, and other community organizations. These relationships also include using community members on advisory boards and placing students in clinical settings in the region. By serving as board members, committee members, and in other capacities within each of these groups, College personnel have the ability to gain a pulse on each area’s needs.
In addition to credit courses at the College, the division of Continuing Education (CE) offers diverse non-credit opportunities to explore personal interests. Offerings include courses that help with career transitions and workforce development; a variety of classes for personal enrichment; camps and programs for youth; and a range of professional performing and visual arts. The CE division developed an external partner plan in Fall 2014. The process for plan development included the identification of key stakeholders and the development of continuous contact strategies with key stakeholders in the business community.
Numerous attempts at building direct alumni connections have been an ineffective use of resources. Rather, the JCCC Foundation works to build relationships with any employers and community members who have interest in supporting the College.
Beyond the business and academic communities, the College also provides arts, entertainment, cultural activities, and spaces for public meetings and sporting events. All of these offerings are an important part of building and maintaining a positive relationship with the wider Johnson County community. The College's facilities are among the most recognized in the region. As a result, we host a performing arts series in the Carlsen Center as well as numerous athletic camps, clinics, and other regional competitions in the athletic facilities. By hosting these cultural events and activities, the College is bringing members of the community to campus who might not otherwise benefit from credit and non-credit offerings.
Determining new stakeholders to target for services or partnership
The Academic Division seeks stakeholders with common goals for student success. CE developed an external partner priorities plan for the division’s leadership. The plan includes a list of the top external partners, a list of all partners considered for the list, the individual(s) at JCCC who represent the College to each partner, and the College’s investment in the partnership. Leadership within the division reviews the list regularly to ensure there is appropriate balance between the College’s investment and return.
Due to the size and location of the College’s facilities, many stakeholders request use of those facilities for their training or meeting needs. There is a facility scheduling process for each of the College’s primary meeting locations—athletic facilities, Olathe Health Education Center facilities, performance halls, Regnier Center & Nerman Museum, and others. The needs of these stakeholders are balanced against the competing needs of the College. For example, the Regnier Center on campus is the most prominent building used by community groups.
The JCCC Foundation determines new stakeholders through its Board of Directors volunteer structure. Various outreach committees are in place under the directors such as a board development committee and a fundraising committee. These groups identify members of the community to engage as volunteers and donors. They specifically look at individuals who donate to organizations with a similar mission, those who participate in local leadership programs, and companies who are new to the Johnson County community. Other times, volunteers know of a new potential stakeholder from a personal relationship.
The College's performance halls in the Carlsen Center host events for the performance arts series, College departments, and community rentals. The general manager of the performing arts series works to secure talent for the series by tracking interest in previous performance types and identifying what else is offered in the metro area. Events offered throughout the performing arts series are designed to appeal to diverse audiences.
In addition to meeting the needs of the College’s varsity sports teams, JCCC’s athletic facilities are used as community resources for camps, clinics, and other competitions. The athletic department’s facility and clinic coordinator serves as the primary contact for these community events. Prioritization of use for athletic facilities is ranked first by course needs, then athletic program needs, then community needs. Most of the camps and clinics are hosted by one of the College’s athletic teams. Other competitions and events are scheduled by outside organizations reaching out to the facilities coordinator.
Meeting the changing needs of key stakeholders
Program areas within CE determine their needs by meeting with industry liaisons to determine where training and workforce gaps exist. Program support is provided for customized training, computer technology, business skills development, careers and trades, leisure, life skills, small business development, and youth and public safety. More than 2,600 courses are offered to support community needs.
The foundation achieves lines of communication to meet the changing needs of stakeholders through its leadership structure. The structure within the foundation's board is extensive. Foundation bylaws allow for a Board of Directors of up to 35 voting members as well as up to 250 additional foundation members. There are currently approximately 100 stakeholders at the member level for a total volunteer system of approximately 130 individuals. Members do not have voting rights, but they are active ambassadors for the College and the foundation in the community. We are not aware of a larger foundation leadership structure currently in place in the American community college system. While sometimes daunting from a management perspective, the foundation's structure allows it to keep open lines of communication with a diverse set of stakeholders representing a variety of ages, ethnicities, political and religious views, municipalities, and industries. There are also a variety of campus representatives in the foundation's leadership to help ensure those voices are heard.
Community events held on campus are often held at the request of the external stakeholder. Information collected from facility usage requests helps operational areas determine how each of their areas are meeting the needs of each community group.
Selecting tools/methods/instruments to assess key stakeholder needs
The College and CE both use an environmental scan process to monitor changes in the external environment. The process allows the division to determine how well programming is meeting the community’s needs. Program directors within the College use the environmental scan as part of each area’s Program Review to help determine effectiveness.
For the usage of College facilities and other resources, activity and attendance reports are tracked and shared with leadership within the divisions. These reports are managed internally and are used to guide future decisions on facility renovations and usage. Attendance at cultural activities offered through the College are evaluated to determine future programming.
Community market penetration reports provided by JCCC’s National Community College Benchmark Project (NCCBP) help to compare how resource allocations compare with other institutions who participate in the NCCBP. These reports contribute to the conversation around meeting community needs.
Assessing the degree to which key stakeholder needs are met
Meeting employer needs is a critical component in the College’s values. Significant resources are spent ensuring relevance in the local workforce. In Spring 2016, the College contracted Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI) to perform an economic overview and gap analysis for the regional workforce. The EMSI study identified the growing industries in both Johnson County and the surrounding economic region. The College also contracted an analysis of local career and technical needs to determine future facility needs for supporting local career training programs. Workforce training is delivered based on student and employer needs.