More than $31 Billion in new school bond initiatives were approved in the November 2020 elections. Through COVID relief efforts, the Federal Government is pumping billions to the States to help open schools safely with the possibility of even more financial support on the horizon. These funds along with anticipated increases in bond activity and pent-up demand for educational products are fueling major changes in business operations and shaping the changing needs of the educational products marketplace.
Over the last month, EDmarket asked the education industry what is needed to help members succeed under the new realities. The survey responses have been very strong and our leadership committees and councils, working with staff, are planning several very exciting new programs that will be released over the next few months. I would like to thank our volunteers for their selfless time commitment and the thoughtful discussions we are having to help all of us be better in the future.
We’re exploring how EDmarket thought-leadership can help our organizations by leading with transparency and including members in discussions focused largely about improving how we do things.Mark Hubbard, Paragon Furniture, EDmarket First Vice Chair
Let me take this moment to share with you some of the data we collected about where the industry is headed and some elevated concerns to be addressed. The survey asked what industry issues are being discussed during conversations with trusted industry peers and what is keeping you awake at night.
The distribution and manufacturer/supplier groups had some interesting thoughts about the major business-related challenges faced and where they would seek advice. Here’s some of what they shared:
- Keeping a finger on the outlook for school construction due to delays during the pandemic and having access to data and analysis to make decisions that prepare for future success.
- Fostering collaboration between dealers and manufacturers as a key component to new product research and development while recognizing those who are leading innovation.
- Creating and building stronger relationships and partnerships with the A&D community.
- Understanding Government purchasing challenges, along with new regulations and contract expectations in a changing procurement environment.
- Recruiting and retaining talented employees and the ability to train them on the uniqueness of our industry.
- The impact of sky-rocketing costs of raw materials and transportation on profitability, especially concerning established contract pricing.
- Capturing the power of networking and the combined influence of collaboration on industry knowledge and cost containment.
- Pivoting marketing efforts while identifying growth opportunities in shifting market segments.
On the customer side, we focused our questions more on important issues and the needs for program content. Here are some topics that will be explored for the A&D community and School Officials at EDspaces 2021:
- Linking School Design to Pedagogy, Technology, and Learning Styles
- Physical Security & Crime Prevention for the Education Leader
- Agency, Personalization, and Lifelong Learning in the Future
- Exploring Outdoor Learning Environments
- Infusing 21st Century Design Elements into Existing Facilities
- Rethinking K-12 Design to Sync with Changing Instructional Trends
- Early Childhood Education and Social Determinants of Health
- Positive Impacts of COVID-19 on School Planning and Design
- Equity and SEL with Personalized Active Learning Spaces
- Technology-Enabled Learning Spaces
- Designing for Mental and Emotional Health
- Research and Design for Future-Focused Learning Environments
As a result of evaluating the data from the surveys and through facilitated discussions with industry leaders, key programmatic areas have been identified and are being formulated by volunteer leaders that will result in some exciting new member-only programs.
As a result of evaluating the data from the surveys and through facilitated discussions with industry leaders, key programmatic areas have been identified and are being formulated by volunteer leaders that will result in some exciting new member-only programs. Stay tuned for more details in the coming months.
One of the working group leaders, Mark Hubbard of Paragon, had this to say about the process and goals: “We’re exploring how EDmarket thought-leadership can help our organizations by leading with transparency and including members in discussions focused largely about improving how we do things. The survey data is providing a lighted path to help us all move toward a more impactful future for our industry, the education community, and most importantly, the students.”
Thank you for taking the time to help plan the future for EDmarket. Please reach out to me with any thoughts about how EDmarket may better serve the industry. We look forward to seeing everyone in person at EDspaces in Pittsburgh, November 3-5, 2021.