University Business featured commentary from Hanover’s Daniel Thomas, Managing Content Director, in its article ‘Higher ed elevates CTE.’ Daniel provided detailed insights into how colleges and universities are rebranding CTE courses to better highlight their positive impacts on local regions and filling gaps in the workforce.
“For nonprofits, it’s advertising that they aren’t just preparing students for low-salary, entry-level careers,” says Daniel Thomas, managing research director for higher education at the consulting firm Hanover Research. “They’re also stressing the benefits to the local region, and fulfilling the mission as a community-driven body to train students in areas of the economy that aren’t getting sufficient employees.”
While for-profits may air TV commercials during national broadcasts, community colleges generally run their ads locally or regionally, says Thomas, of Hanover. One reason: For-profits target working professionals and adults who are more likely to be watching TV than the younger students recruited by community colleges. “The challenge for community colleges is really positioning themselves as institutions where students want to enroll in CTE programs, as opposed to four-year schools,” he says. “For for-profits, it’s convincing students of the overall credibility of their programs.” While the average for-profit spends substantially more on marketing, the nonprofits have ramped up their advertising budgets, particularly on social media and the internet. “For-profits try to be quite cutting-edge in terms of delivery methods and how they present their courses,” Thomas says. “Community colleges are playing a bit of catch-up—but becoming more sophisticated about highlighting the online and flexible nature of the courses.”