A new face has joined Elizabethtown Community and Technical College, but she is not unfamiliar with the institution.
Sarah Berkshire recently was hired as the college’s recruitment director. As recruitment director, Berkshire is responsible for leading the recruitment efforts for high school students and adults and helping the college’s recruitment team develop new recruiting relationships.
“We need to make sure that we’re reaching students in the right place, at the right time,” she said.
Part of that recruitment effort is contacting adults who are older than typical college students. High school students are easy to find, but recruiting adults can be more challenging, Berkshire said. Adults typically have more commitments than high school students, such as jobs and families. It also is easy for the college to come to a high school event, set up a booth and talk to prospective college students.
“Where can you do that for people who are 25 and older?” she said. “They’re just harder to reach and when you can reach them, they’re in smaller pockets.”
Berkshire’s previous experience includes an account executive for Heartland Communications Consultants and a reporter and features editor for The News-Enterprise. Berkshire said her prior experiences will help her in her new role.
“Getting to work with economic development and workforce development agencies and getting to work hand-in-hand with a K-12 (educational) organization helped me understand a lot about the needs that the college is trying to meet and it also gave me a strong understanding of not just the Elizabethtown or Hardin County community, but really the entire region,” she said.
ECTC officials agreed.
“Sarah’s experience with Heartland with the other clients that she worked with were very much connected to what we do here,” said Mary Jo King, marketing and public relations director for ECTC.
Berkshire said the more students recruited, the more applications received and the bigger the student body grows.
“We want the college to grow,” she said. “Everybody wants the college to grow. That’s good news for everyone.”
ECTC’s fall enrollment has hovered between 6,000 and 7,000 students in the past five years. In 2014, enrollment was 7,353 students. In 2015, enrollment decreased to 6,330 students. In 2016, enrollment increased to 6,897 students. In 2017, enrollment increased again to 7,146 students. In 2018, enrollment slipped to 6,430 students.
College officials said student enrollment has increased this year. ECTC’s unofficial total enrollment for fall 2019 is about 6,600 students, said Darrin Powell, interim chief academic officer, Friday during the college’s board of directors meeting.
Berkshire said ECTC will play a big role in helping Hardin County and the surrounding region grow, especially economically. Regional leaders with the Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Board are working to address the workforce shortage in the Hardin County region.
“I live here. My kids live here. When we talk about retaining our region’s talent, these young bright kids coming up, we want them to stay here and contribute to our community and contribute to our economy and ECTC has a big role in that. That’s important,” Berkshire said.