Iowa Intermediary Network.
An honest assessment created a strong relationship.
Challenge: Year One.
Iowa Intermediary Network is an independent, state-wide community of practice affiliated with Iowa’s 15 community colleges that facilitate work-based learning for Iowa K-12 school students.
Vendors were asked to submit proposals to educate the state about IIN’s work with videos reaching all segments of their audience. The available budget would fund production of the videos but not advertising. We knew we could produce the videos, but we also knew the videos would go unnoticed without a budget for promotion. We’re not interested in getting work that will fail the client, so we presented the IIN Technical Advisory Committee a bold plan to use the only media that could cost-effectively reach the state; social media. It was a bold recommendation shared in a room with many social media skeptics. Our recommendation side-stepped the brand standards of the 15 community colleges and created a strong new brand for IIN.
Challenge: Year Two.
Find a way for coordinators to provide work-based learning experiences without fully functioning workplaces or schools. The client’s original thought was to offer live work-based webinars and to post them on the YouTube channels of each community college.
Results: Year One.
It began...ok. The website looked great. Traffic was acceptable. The content was where the OK part came in. Most posts emotionally engaged the viewer like most any government nutrition film might. Very informative. Just not very engaging, as engagement stats proved. So we reengineered the portal, adding helpful tips, suggestions for content, additional descriptive fields for submitting information, and a re-energized program
celebrating content successes.
We also became more active in preparing content for posting, smoothing out where needed, adding a little energy when necessary. The changes resulted in a fast-growing audience and more engagement with posts. With photos from coordinators, we were able to ditch the stock photos on the website and use Iowa high school students engaged in work-based learning instead. All trends were pointing to success.
Results: Year Two.
Great accomplishments depend on great teamwork, and the team of Monkeythis and IIN is proud of our year one accomplishments, but especially “Connection Lab”, the resource we created for remote work-based learning. Now students anywhere in the state can learn about careers everywhere in the state. IIN’s need for demonstrating effective outreach has been maintained, and IIN has escaped the limitations of physical proximity. Now every learning opportunity the coordinators arrange are not impacting the few students who can attend. One event can reach hundreds of students, not just while underway but into the indefinite future as well. Onsite, work-based learning will return, but who knows how far one experience can reach, or how many students can gain value from it?