It’s no secret the American workforce has experienced some rocky turmoil over the past year. As if the pandemic weren’t enough, employers faced The Great Resignation and then “The Great Reshuffle.” A survey from Edge Research for the Afterschool Alliance showed that afterschool programs weren’t immune to the staffing shortages experienced by the rest of the US. Three-fourths of afterschool providers who took the survey shared that they’re struggling to hire and retain staff.
It’s not a city problem, either. Suburban, urban, and rural providers all experience the shortage.
So what’s an afterschool program to do? And how can you bring your program from one of your dreams to reality, especially given staffing concerns you may be experiencing?
Here are five tips to help you transform your afterschool program, AND help protect your program against staffing challenges in the coming year.
1. Don’t lose sight of your vision. The old adage, ‘The only constant is change” has never been more true than today. Market changes, economic changes, and even educational laws can be different from one day to the next. Short term concerns can be concerning, but keep your long term goals and objectives at the forefront of your mind when making decisions for your afterschool program.
2. Be open to alternative funding. Studies show that afterschool programs that accept COVID funding or assistance in addition to their normal funding are able to offer benefits to staff such as salary increases or purchase additional tools for their programs. COVID funding, fundraising, and grant applications can help provide the monetary infusion that can retain your staff and ensure a wide variety of programming options.
3. Offer a virtual program with flexibility for onsite, hybrid, and remote learning. With reduced staffing, some afterschool options have had to close, or reduce the number of students in attendance. With one program that offers a uniquely flexible participation option, you can reach kids who are onsite, hybrid, and remote all in the same day. This ensures more kids who would otherwise not be able to attend can still reap the critical benefits of regular fitness activity.
4. Offer scheduling options to retain your staff. The survey given to afterschool providers noted that 71% of respondents offered some flexibility to help retain staff. Part-time work, increased hours for those who would like them, and freedom to choose their own hours are just some of the options employers are offering. With virtual programming, your kids have a consistent program where they can learn and progress that is independent of which staff member is onsite. That ensures your program stays successful, even with staffing changes and rotations.
5. Offer stress-free, plug-and-play programming. With a potentially smaller staff, it’s more important than ever to make sure you prevent staff burnout and provide tools that will help retain the staff you have. One of the many solutions that Skillastics® virtual programming offers is multiplying your staff! Because all of our virtual programs are taught by experts in their field, the program leaders on each video become your staff, which helps ensure your physical staff aren’t exhausted, worn out, or emotionally distressed. This frees them up to have fun, encourage kids, and even join in if they want to. Each program is simple and easy to use, with no experience necessary for your staff.
The programs of the future must be flexible for both kids and staff, and offer a variety of engaging options for inclusion. You don’t have to limit the vision you have for your afterschool program just because there may be potential challenges in the market, economy, or with your staff. Skillastics® has been partnering with you for the last twenty years, and we’ll stick with you through thick or thin for the next twenty.
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P.S. Don’t forget about our 20th Anniversary celebration and giveaway! To enter our quarterly giveaway and see the full contest rules, click here.