Blog Archives

Direct Mail … My, How the Mighty Have Fallen.

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Just look at the direct mail shops in our industry that have either gone away or shifted their businesses to the Internet, TV, or even the contact center business. Like lemmings, they have followed each other right off the cliff. Why? Because they had become so formulaic that when the formula stopped …

Breakout Session Gives Competitive Edge

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Local newspapers are jam-packed with advertisements for career schools. Direct competitors often appear right next to each other on the job pages, which has schools continually trying to find ways to distinguish themselves from their competitors. More and more, school administrators are looking to public relations tactics to stand out in the crowd.

At the 2006 Career College Association Convention & Exposition, a breakout session titled “Public Relations – the Competitive Edge” will offer career college industry professionals the tools and suggestions necessary to form an effective public relations campaign. The conference, held at the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino from June 12-14 in Las Vegas, Nev., is an annual event that gives professionals in the industry the opportunity to network, share ideas, and learn about the issues affecting them.

Several informative breakout sessions are offered during the three-day conference, including “Public Relations – The Competitive Edge.” Session hosts Michael Stiglich of Corinthian Colleges, Inc. and Tracy Kreikemeier of PlattForm will present public relations techniques that can be beneficial to proprietary schools in distancing themselves from others within regional markets.

Kreikemeier says the career college industry has experienced such phenomenal growth that many areas are now saturated with schools. These new institutions are creating an increased level of competition for enrollments, employees and job placement opportunities. It has never been more important for schools to use public relations in order to stand out and form a strong relationship and positive image with the community.

“We hope to present some out-of-the-box ideas on how to improve the public relations efforts for our industry,” Kreikemeier said. “I hope attendees come away with an understanding of how important it is to reach out to the community on a regular basis. Just doing it once a year isn’t enough. It has to be consistent and genuine.”

Historically, the role of public relations has been overlooked in the career college industry. The emphasis has instead been on “traditional” advertising – print, radio and television – or direct-response advertising, where schools can track the response to their promotional efforts. Now, consumers are inundated with commercials at every opportunity. They know paid ad space when they see it, and all of these are contributing factors to the belief that career schools need more than slick advertising campaigns to draw students. It’s becoming essential for schools to form a positive community image through public relations.

In this informative session, Stiglich and Kreikemeier will discuss ways schools can improve on community involvement. They will ask the important question, “What does the community think of your school and why?”

“The answer to that question might surprise some of our participants,” Kreikemeier said.

Kreikemeier says the presentation will emphasize the importance of consistency and credibility in community dealings for all types of career schools. Helpful hints for furthering community involvement and surefire techniques to get the most public relations bang for your buck will also be discussion topics.

For more information about the CCA conference or a list of other breakout sessions, visit the CCA’s web site.

Attending the CCA Conference, it’s no gamble

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Bright lights, amazing shows and high stakes gambling are not the only amenities Las Vegas has to offer. For the second consecutive year, it is also the site of the Career College Association’s Annual Convention & Exposition.

The slogan, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” may be true for other occasions but not for the CCA conference. The event, which will be held from June 12-14 at the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino, represents the largest conference for professionals in the career college field. More than 1,100 people on average attend the conference every year to network, share ideas and discuss the issues and trends that impact their schools and students.

This year, event organizers again have focused on the hottest topics impacting proprietary schools, including:

Profile of the Online Learner: At past conferences, this topic was geared toward the lead-generation aspect of the industry, but this year’s breakout sessions will also emphasize use of the Internet for distance learning.
Compliance and Ethics: This is always a hot topic in the career college industry. It deals with issues concerning financial aid, legislative issues, accreditation and ethical admissions practices. Several breakout sessions at the conference will address these issues and more.
Retention: A growing number of schools have reported that many incoming students lack the basic educational skills needed to succeed in the classroom. Attendees will receive information about getting these students where they need to be to learn and succeed in the workforce.
Women in Leadership Roles: More and more women are taking on leadership positions within the career college industry. In this session, the presenters will offer helpful information on the challenges and obstacles women face within the industry.
Tomorrow’s Jobs: For a school to meet student needs, its administrators must understand what jobs are in demand. Here’s your chance to learn which career fields are hot and which are not, across the nation.

Other breakout sessions will address all aspects of the industry, such as admissions, education, external operations, internal operations and student services. Don’t miss out on your chance to learn more about these topics.

Keynote speakers for the event are General Barry R. McCaffrey, USA (Ret.) and Peter Hart, Peter D. Hart Research Associates, Inc. Gen. McCaffrey will discuss the war in Iraq and how it impacts the career education industry. Hart will talk about the public’s perception of career colleges and offer information on how to address the marketing challenges brought on by these perceptions.

Conference organizers hope the information that they present in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas. “We want to give them the best material and information so they can do the best job for their students,” said Lisa Kelly, Manager of Communications for CCA. “It’s all about the students.”

For more information about the Career College Association Annual Convention & Exposition, please visit CCA’s web site.

Olathe Ad Agency Tests New Technology

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Olathe, KS – (March 2, 2006) – Hoping to regain lost ground in pay-per-click advertising, is testing a new advertising technology that will position it to compete with industry leaders. PlattForm has been selected to be among the first wave of advertisers to participate in the new program before its full release this summer.

“This is a significant accomplishment for PlattForm because we’re a niche-market advertiser,” said Matt Kraus, PlattForm’s Pay-Per-Click Manager. “The other advertisers who have been invited to participate are advertisers who target mass audiences.”

MSN’s new technology, adCenter, allows advertisers to reach their target demographic based on user profiles. According to Microsoft, these targeting capabilities should improve advertisers’ return on investment for paid-search advertising.

“As a company that spends hundreds of thousands of dollars a month on search engine advertising, we’re excited about the outcome this could yield,” Kraus said. “We expect to see great results through the new MSN advertising.”

According to the Microsoft Web site, currently has 9.1 million Internet subscribers and more than 400 million monthly unique users worldwide. With localized versions available globally in 41 markets and 20 languages, MSN is a world leader in delivering Web services to consumers and advertising solutions to businesses worldwide.

About PlattForm
PlattForm is a full-service integrated marketing communications agency specializing in direct-response advertising within the education industry. With its headquarters in Olathe, Kan., the agency provides all aspects of advertising campaigns and enrollment services in-house. These services include, but are not limited to, strategic media planning and buying, creative production, web design, full-service web marketing, public relations, and telecommunications. PlattForm specializes in “Education and Military Recruitment,” servicing more than 1,300 campus locations and military branches across the United States and Canada. For more information, visit

Michigan-Based Information Technology Company Wins Contract with Nursing School

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Bingham Farms, Mich., August 4, 2005 — ComSpec International, Inc., a leading provider of information technology services to Fortune 1000 companies and the higher education market, was recently awarded a contract with Cochran School of Nursing in Yonkers, New York. The school chose ComSpec’s award-winning EMPOWER product as its new student information system.

“The Cochran School of Nursing has increased five-fold in student numbers and added an off-site location in the last four years,” said Dr. Kathleen Dirschel, Cochran’s Dean and Vice President for Education. “EMPOWER was the software of choice because its systems are able to be efficient and accurate in managing all our student data activities. It offers powerful applications, Internet connectivity and strong interface capabilities.”

EMPOWER is a fully-integrated student information system utilized by a wide range of institutions in the United States, Canada and the Bahamas. EMPOWER customers range in size from single campus locations to multiple worldwide locations, and include traditional two- and four-year colleges, career colleges, professional schools, religious institutions and academic service providers. Originally developed by ComSpec in 1997, EMPOWER has achieved a 100 percent client retention rate and has earned various other accolades, including an award by INFOWORLD and a place in the ComputerWorld Smithsonian Innovation Collection.

A single, integrated database with a modular design, EMPOWER allows institutions the flexibility to select only the components they need and to customize the application to meet their requirements. Currently, more than 10 modules are available, enabling customers to effectively manage information in key areas, including Admissions Tracking, Financial Aid, Student Billing, Student Records and Registration, Student Housing and Alumni and Donor Development.

In addition, EMPOWER offers nursing schools the capability to track information that is unique to their needs, including:

Medical loan processing and financial aid
Contact hour reporting
Professional transcript
CEU registration and tracking
Clinical patient contact reporting
Immunization and test records

“We are thrilled to add Cochran School of Nursing to our list of EMPOWER customers,” said ComSpec Vice President Robert Brender. “It is an honor to work with Cochran, which was founded in 1894 and is one of the oldest professional nursing schools in the country.”

ComSpec also works with other four-year colleges that specialize in nursing and allied health education, and recently completed an EMPOWER implementation at Mercy College of Northwest Ohio, a Catholic college founded in 1917 that grants associate and baccalaureate degrees.

ComSpec International was founded in 1983, and provides custom software development services utilizing the latest 4GL tools, relational databases, client/server and web technology. Outside of the higher education market, ComSpec customers have included companies such as Motorola, Ford Motor Company and Nextel. The company is headquartered in Bingham Farms, Michigan, at 30800 Telegraph Road, Suite 2775. The telephone number is 248.647.8841, and the web address is

MaxKnowledge and CCA Launch New Online Course: Time & Stress Management for Career College Instructors

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Santa Ana , CA , July 12, 2005 – MaxKnowledge and Career College Association today announced the availability of a new online training course for career college faculty.

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