November 20-21, 2003

 

ITEM 121-107-R1103                  Request for Multimedia Campaign Promoting Two-Year Education

 

THAT:                                       The Montana Board of Regents conduct a marketing campaign to heighten public awareness of the multi-faceted roles that Montana’s two-year colleges* can and do play in making learner-centered higher education opportunities affordable and accessible to all Montanans, preparing and sustaining specific workforces in the high-tech economy of the information age, and helping communities appreciate and capitalize on their assets.

 

RATIONALE:                             In some states, two-year colleges are regarded as the foundation on which the economy is built.  Citizens, industries, and communities in these states know that their two-year colleges prepare prospective workers in established and emerging industries, respond to specific needs for new proficiencies and knowledge in incumbent workers, and retrain workers and workforces facing major changes affecting their abilities to balance budgets. Unfortunately, Montana’s two-year colleges have not been regarded as the foundation on which Montana’s economy is built although they play a vigorous, participative role in developing, promoting, and maintaining their regions’ economies.

 

In many states, two-year colleges are appreciated as a continual point of access to learning “for where you are in life” – whether “you” are someone whose writing and mathematics skills have yet to develop; someone who is not quite certain what college degree to pursue (if any); someone whose language and culture are not “mainstream”; someone with a master’s degree who wants a job that sustains interest and pays the bills; or someone who is retired, relocated, divorced, bored, intrigued, in flux, dead-ended. Again, for whatever reason, Montana’s two-year colleges have not been viewed as having capacity to respond to a broad spectrum of individual lifelong learning needs.

 

In most states, two-year colleges are widely known as the mechanism through which the affordability and accessibility so integral to the public interest in public higher education are maintained.  Citizens in those states know that the education available at their local two-year colleges is a reasonably priced, widely transferable, and high-quality way to begin the pursuit of a bachelor’s degree. These citizens also understand that two-year education is an integral part of the overall education system in their states. Understandably, these states tout their two-year colleges as being accessible, affordable, and providing high-quality programs. Unfortunately, Montana has not touted its two-year colleges as affordable, accessible, high-quality choices for higher education opportunities.

 

Attached to this proposal is a business plan for changing those perceptions through a coordinated, multi-media campaign targeting the general public in Montana, as well as Montana high school students, counselors, faculty, and administration; business, industry, and government leaders; and other public and private entities.

 

COST:                          Cost projections are included in the attached business plan.  The proposal requests that the Montana Board of Regents fund the two-year college marketing plan for $75,000.  Private-sector partnerships and contributions will fund the remaining amount.

 

*Montana’s two-year colleges include three community colleges, five colleges of technology, and seven tribal colleges.