ITT Technical Institute (ITT Tech) is a private institution with 114 locations in 37 states. Each location offers degree programs. ITT Tech was founded in 1969 and came to Nashville in 1994. Known for its technical degree programs, it offers degrees in the areas of Information Technology, Electronics Technology, Drafting and Design,
Criminal Justice, Business and Health Sciences.
The organization specializes in career focused programs which helps to place graduates in their career field. The core of ITT Tech lies with the admissions department also known as marketing.
Without the admissions department the school would not be able to function. The primary goal of admissions is to recruit new students as well as students whom may have withdrawn or dropped from school. The Nashville campus admissions department consists of a director of recruitment, manager of recruitment and 21 student representatives also known as recruiters. The recruiters consist of one community relations recruiter that attends career fairs and visits high schools to conduct seminars about ITT. Her goal is to bring in additional outside leads for the other 20 recruiters to contact and attempt to enroll in school.
Each recruiter has a minimum number of students they are required to have sit in class each year. Depending on how many students the recruiter started the year before will determine if the number will increase or decrease each year. These numbers determine a recruiters ranking in the department.
Some would argue a recruiter is a salesman due to the job weighing heavily on numbers. With each recruiter having individual numbers to meet, the department can be very competitive. The competitiveness brings about low team morale. Managers are not concerned with individual numbers but are more concerned with the final school number. This discernment often leads to a breakdown in communication between managers and recruiters.
Recruiters feel they are not respected or rewarded for working hard to achieve their numbers. This often leads to resentment between managers and staff. Another common problem is recruiters begin to get greedy and develop a “by what ever means necessary” mentality. This mentality often causes them to step on their team members in order to achieve their required numbers.
“Economic factors concern the nature and direction of the company in which a firm operates” (Pearce, 2004, p.79). ITT Tech is affected by economic factors in a number of different areas. Changes in the economy can prove to be good as well as bad for the education industry. Studies have shown when individuals lose their jobs they seek a different method to help with seeking out employment. If someone does not have a degree oftentimes they decide school is their best option to obtain job security and become competitive in the job market. The decline in the economy over the last year has proven to be beneficial for ITT Tech.
The admissions department has witnessed a rise in incoming students every quarter since the economy has been on a downward slope. Students are realizing experience in a field is no longer enough to get and secure a good paying job. Students are also realizing for every one job that may be available the number of applicants have increased tremendously over the last year. This increase in applicants makes them want to return to school to be more competitive in their job search. IBISWorld reports that in “2008 as a whole, current data indicated the average level of the unemployment rate was 5.8%. For the first quarter of 2009, the rate averaged 8.1%, reaching a monthly level of 8.5% in March.
In 2008 when the housing market began to crumble major lenders began to pull out of lending money to potential students. Sallie Mae was one of the major lenders that pulled out. This left a great deal of students in a stand still position. This drastically hurt the admissions department because the majority of these students had no means of funds to go to school. Therefore, these students were dropped from the active roster list, which in return affected each recruiter’s individual required numbers.
ITT Tech was forced to develop in-house programs to assist potential students. Unlike Sallie Mae qualifications, these programs were credit based which still eliminated some students. Although some students were declined this was alternative some found to be beneficial.
According to the IBISWorld report “revenue forecasts have been upgraded for 2009, with the expectation that enrollments will increase in a period of higher unemployment. Volatile quarterly revenue growth reflects the seasonal demand for services.” (2009). Most people have the mindset if they are working there is no need to return to school. Therefore, when jobs are on the rise, enrollment into post secondary schools begin to decline.
Studies have shown 1 out of 5 people live from check to check. Most people do not think long-term and don’t understand the importance of obtaining a degree even if they currently have a good paying job. This also helps us to understand that the generation attending college lives in an immediate gratification era. Individuals are more concerned with what needs to be done today and not taking into consideration what needs to be done in the future.
IBISWorld report states the Technical and Trade Schools industry is expected to grow an average rate of 5.7% per annum. This is due largely to the demand for training in the areas of new technology. Employers are also more focused on employees receiving hands on training when getting a degree. “New technology has caused qualified trades people to undertake regular re-training in order to update their skills” (IBISWorld, 2009).
Once the economy begins to get back on track the admissions department will begin to see students drop out of school due to finding jobs. Recruiters will also begin to experience a decline in committed potential students. It’s not uncommon to contact a potential student today and have him come in and sign up for school the same day. The turn around in the economy will have a negative impact on recruiters making their required numbers because it becomes more difficult to recruit potential students.
Analysis of Remote Environment
Social and Cultural Trends
“Like other forces in the remote environment, social forces are dynamic, with constant change resulting from the efforts of individuals to satisfy their desires and needs by controlling and adapting to environmental factors” (Pearce, 2004, p. 9). ITT Tech is good about recognizing what consumers are looking for. Therefore, the admissions department is always provided information on the current social trends. These updates help recruiter’s sale the programs being offered to potential students.
Although ITT Tech was founded on technical degree programs, ITT Tech recognizes other fields of study that are rapidly growing. One social trend that is rising at a rapid pace is the medical field. When talking to potential students each recruiter can expect to have at least one person state he is interested in the medical field daily. Due to this demand ITT Tech has began offering medical degree programs at many of its locations. Currently in Nashville none of the programs are offered on site but some are offered online. When speaking to a potential student who is interested in the medical field but may not want to do an online program, a recruiter is forced to refer the student to a different school. Once these programs are brought to the Nashville area this will help recruiters with making their numbers because more students will be able to be serviced.
“Political factors define the legal and regulatory parameters within which firms must operate” (Pearce, 2004, p.14). ITT Tech is governed under the Higher Education Commission of Tennessee. They are also accredited by the Accrediting Counsel for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS). These two organizations govern what the school and its employees can and can not do. ACICS compliance concerns are with graduation numbers and placements. Therefore, in order to keep the current accreditation, each program must graduate a certain number of graduates every year and out those graduates at least 75% of them must be placed in their career fields. This works in the recruiters favor because they are able to use this as leverage when talking to potential students.
Federal regulation allows ITT Tech to be a Title IV school. Being a Title IV school allows students to be eligible to receive Federal Government funding in the form of different government loans. Students are able to obtain state and federal grants as well as federal student loans. By providing these programs students are not limited in their financial options. Potential students have the misconception that since ITT Tech is a private school they do not offer federal funding. A recruiter can use this information to assist them when interviewing potential students. This helps the student to understand he can combine different programs to cover their financial aid with the hopes of not having to come out of pocket any money.
Technological factors play a role in the education industry as well. It’s no secret the world is moving towards a tech savvy era. Therefore, in order for a school to survive it must keep up with current technological trends. ITT Tech offers onsite as well as online classes. This gives students flexibility in completing their program. When a student signs up for school everything is done electronically. This decreases the time it would normally take for a student to complete his paper work. ITT Tech has shortened their admission time process in half since putting documents online. A student no longer has to visit a campus to go to the library. An online library has been established for the convenience of the students to access at their leisure from any computer with internet access. These changes have allowed ITT Tech to stay in line and in some cases ahead of the competition.
One of the new technological advances currently being implemented include live chat. Live chat gives a potential student the ability to speak to recruiter while online. This gives both the student a chance to ask any questions he may have while also allowing the recruiter to schedule an interview for the potential student to come in. This will help recruiters by providing leads at that very moment as opposed to leads coming into the system and not knowing how long ago the person requested information.
IBISWorld states approximately 40% of students at technical and trade schools are less than 21 years old with 35% being 21-30 years old and 25% over 30 years old. At ITT Tech less than 25% of its students are less than 25 years old, 45% being 25-35 years old and 30% over 35 years old. The students at ITT Tech are typically there because of the hands on experience. The majority of the students have families; works full-time jobs, have been to college in the past and didn’t graduate or may just be looking to change careers completely. ITT Tech provides a environment for adults where they are only required to take three classes a week one class a day to be considered fulltime.
Currently ITT Tech’s tuition is $468 per credit hour. An Associate’s degree takes 96 hours to complete ($44,928 total tuition) and a Bachelors degree takes 180 hours to complete ($84,240 total tuition). At local community colleges a student can complete an Associate’s degree for less than $10,000. To complete a Bachelor’s degree from a traditional university a student will pay about $35,000. The drastic difference in cost can pose a problem when recruiters are talking to potential students. These students see bottom line dollar figures and it’s up to the recruiter to sale ITT Tech and the reasons why the tuition is different.
Currently ITT Tech is ranked ahead of its competition in technical schools. This is attributed to ITT Tech being a combination of a traditional school and a trade school. A combination of the curriculum and the hands on training puts them in the forefront. Although all their programs result in degrees, ITT Tech differs from a traditional school in a number of ways. One way includes, students only take general education classes 25% of the time they are enrolled. 75% of their time is spent on core related courses all requiring both a classroom and lab sessions.
The mission of ITT Tech is:
The ITT Technical Institute is an institution of higher learning that is committed to offering quality undergraduate, graduate and continuing education locally, nationally and worldwide to students of diverse backgrounds, interests and abilities. The institution offers educational programs that integrate life-long learning with knowledge and skills to help students:
• pursue their personal interests and objectives;
• develop intellectual, analytical and critical thinking abilities; and
• provide service to their communities.
The programs employ traditional, applied and adult-learning pedagogies and are delivered through traditional, accelerated and distance methodologies in a learner-centered environment of mutual respect. (ITT Technical Institute, 2009)
The vision of the admissions department is to achieve budgeted year end census. Currently the forces and trends that could affect ITT Tech achieving this vision include the remote industry (economic, social and technological factors).
In order to remain ahead of competition there are several opportunities and issues that need to be addressed in this strategic-planning process. Those include but are not limited to the following:
1. Incorporate classes in both English and Spanish
2. Obtain national accreditation to allow for more opportunities for students
3. Discontinue the current ranking system among recruiters
4. Give all recruiters the opportunity to go out in the community and recruit
5. Implement quarterly team morale building activities
• Well Trained Recruiters
• Flexible hours to meet with potential students Monday – Saturday between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.
• Over 15 years of experience
• Low Team Morale
• Disconnect with managers and recruiters
• Quarterly and yearly requirements
• No reward system
• Constant negative reinforcement and no positive reinforcement from managers
• Revolving door for new employees
• Cheaper tuition
• Economy begins to turn around
As with any organization, long-term objectives are key to helping determine their success. “For most strategic managers, the solution is clear—distribute a small amount of profit now but sow most of it to increase the likelihood of a long-term supply” (Pearce, 2004, p.5). The objectives of the admissions department include:
1. New starts (measured against budget)
2. Achieve re-entry goals (measured by re-entries as a % of past 12 months gross drops)
3. Accepted students – Financial aid conduct %
4. Workforce management – Maintain recruiter staffing levels at targeted levels. (Target is based on leads/recruiter per week) (ITT Technical Institute, 2009).
It’s imperative that an organization establish a mission and a vision for not only the organization but each department as well. Although short-term goals are good for instant needs long-term goals must be set for success of the company. The goals must be specific in order for members of the organization to have a clear understanding of them.
ITT Technical Institute. (2009). Retrieved April 26, 2009 from http://www.itt-tech.edu
Pearce, J. and Robinson, R. (2004). Strategic Management: Formulation, Implementation,
And Control. McGraw- Hill Companies.
Technical & Trade Schools in the US:61151. (2009). IBISWorld Industry Report. Retrieved May 12, 2009 from IBISWorld Database.