Businesses from the Education Services industry joined our eighth roundtable discussion sponsored by SRP and in partnership with Mayor Brigette Peterson, team members of Gilbert’s Office of Economic Development, the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce, and JW Rayhons of Joshua Development.
Our goal was to hear from business who were impacted by the pandemic related restrictions and to learn what challenges they are currently facing to gain insight into their expectations in the year ahead. Regarding their expectations of this roundtable, business professional shared they chose to attend in order to listen to each other, learn how they can partner to better support each other, and to get new ideas from businesses experiencing similar challenges.
When asked to share the biggest challenge their businesses are currently facing, attendees expressed concerns with declining enrollment, employee retention, and hiring challenges. The following are the key takeaways from the discussion.
Declining Enrollment in Programming:
- After school care programs have seen a drop in enrollment during the pandemic, though they are starting to see students returning to their programs. Now that student numbers are increasing, they have an increased need for staff and are struggling to provide the care that our families need.
- One business owner, still experiencing a decline in enrollment, now offers both in-person and virtual classes. Unfortunately, they are not having an issue with staffing because their enrollment numbers are still down. The business is optimistic enrollment will pick up as more students continue to return to in-person schooling.
- Businesses continue to offer alternate formats of their programming including more online platforms for students and staff.
- Constant changes in enrollment are making it challenging to stay fully staffed, increasing the need for cross training.
- Continuing to provide changing platforms/formats to accommodate customers is challenging for staff and can lead to burnout.
- Businesses are trying to relieve burnout by providing additional perks when they can, though business owners have a growing concern their hourly rates are not competitive.
- One business owner mentioned they constantly evaluate their program structure to alleviate the workload for staff as they are trying to regrow their programs.
- More businesses are striving to hire for culture and attitude fit and willing to train for the specific job needs they have.
- Employers are seeing a gap in basic work skills such as teamwork, supporting others, communication, and work ethic.
In closing, attendees continue to be open to new ideas, different ways of doing business, and are seeking ways to attract talented staff to help their business support more student growth.