Lincoln Tech has been offering the Imagine America Foundation scholarship programs for over 20 years!
Bob Martin: Joining us today on Imagine America Radio is Scott Shaw, president and CEO of Lincoln Education Services, or Lincoln Tech. Lincoln Tech has 22 campuses located throughout the United States in Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Texas. These campuses have been educating tomorrow’s workforce since 1945 and they’re accredited by the [Accrediting Commission] of Career Schools and Colleges.
Today’s topic we’re going to be talking with Scott which is about COVID-19 and what Lincoln Tech has been doing about this pandemic. Thank you, Scott, for joining us. So as I told our audience, what is Lincoln Tech’s response now to the COVID virus, please?
Scott Shaw: Thanks, Bob. Appreciate the opportunity. Yeah, these are quite unusual times for all of us. And what we’ve quickly done—really great kudos to the team—is transition to a distance learning environment for all of our students. It’s taken us a bit longer for some of our students, especially our welding students, but now every one of our programs is offering some portion of their course online or in a distant format. And so what we did is quickly leverage some of the existing technology that we had, because we were already offering some blended programs, and said that we had this learning management system Canvas. And we were quickly able to, frankly, train all of our instructors (whether they had experience or not) on how to utilize Canvas, and some of the tools within Canvas, as a basic platform for everyone.
And then, frankly, we’ve been allowing our teachers to be as creative as they are to come up with additional solutions to get their information conveyed to their students. And we’ve been holding daily calls with all the campuses and, as you just highlighted, we’re in 14 different states with 22 campuses. And so trying to get everyone on the same page as quickly as possible certainly has been a challenge, but again the organization has responded very well. And it’s quite exciting to hear what some of the faculty members are doing to engage students.
Bob: Oh, that’s very exciting Scott. Thank you.
Lee Doubleday: Yeah, very exciting, and I think got—and you sort of touched on this—so you guys are now teaching completely online, but you are open. Now are you open for tours, or are you doing virtual tours or virtual appointments with admissions? How does that work?
Scott: Yeah, we are definitely open for business, but as of right now we’re not doing any physical tours and it varies, certainly, by state. At certain of our campuses, frankly, we’re not allowed to have anyone on site. At other campuses, we have skeleton crews of people on site.
And so what we’re doing is still providing the students with the services that they need—our existing students. And all of our admissions reps are working remotely and have the ability to share information. And, where possible, when we have videos and pictures of the campuses, they’re sharing that information, as well. But from a physical enrollment standpoint, that’s all happening, right now, virtually. We do have our own call center which helps us do that. And as soon as we’re able to, we hope to have students come back on campus, whether it’s in smaller groups or individually. But as of right now, no students are on any of our campuses and no new students are being asked to come into any of our campuses.
Bob: So the first message is you’re open for business, as I hear it. The second message from you, Scott, is: You can enroll in a class if you wanted, if someone in this audience is interested in it.
Scott: Yeah. We frankly had a class start of today. We’ve transitioned completely over to be able to do it remotely. Since our first classes tend to be introductory, we have that online now for students. So yeah, everything is business as usual—except for the fact that we’re not in our schools.
Bob: Okay, good. So that was my next question, which was when class starts, and you already touched upon that. Go ahead, Lee. I’m sorry.
Lee: Yeah, no problem. Yeah, I was going to follow that up with: So the campuses are physically closed because of the virus, but you still managed to have a class start today. Is there any sort of timeline as to when the schools may reopen, or are we leaving that up to, you know, obviously, the government and municipalities?
Scott: Yeah, well we’re definitely leaving it up to the local officials, which can vary even within the state. The local municipality could make a different decision. So as of right now, we are hopeful that maybe in a couple weeks, we might be able to have small groups come back to certain of our campuses. In other locations, we’re anticipating that it could be, frankly, a month or two before we could have students back into the schools.
Just as a point of reference, we don’t have a master calendar for all of our courses across all of our campuses, at least not yet. So we literally have starts taking place almost every day somewhere within the Lincoln system. And for the vast majority of those starts, they are continuing. For some of them, we have pushed them off for a couple weeks just for some logistics purposes. But basically, within a month’s period of time, people should be able to start if they’re so inclined to.
Bob: You know, Scott, we’ve always enjoyed working with your school particularly because you’ve got such a robust high school program. So let’s put our high school—imagine now I’m a high school counselor, and there’s a very good possibility this year that I’m not gonna see the students again the rest of the year. How would you recommend Lincoln or Imagine America could help them to get more information on your school and keep abreast? Because if I’m not gonna see my counselor, he or she is not gonna be pushing me to the career center or pushing me to the reps when they come in. How should they proceed?
Scott: Yeah, I appreciate that question because we do have 90 reps out there going to high schools, and we have a good high school lead flow right now. So it is an important part of what we do. The best source, immediately right now, is our website. We have a lot of information on that website, both just written forms, pictures, videos, testimonials from students, from employers. You can get a really good feel for what we offer, how we deliver the education, and what can be expected.
Needless to say, this is a very evolving thing, so beyond what’s on our website, we are constantly thinking, “What do we need to do that’s different, that we haven’t done in the past, to make sure that we can stay engaged with the guidance counselors and the prospective students?” So I know that we’ll be coming out with more information and more videos really directed towards them. But in the short period of time that we’ve transitioned right now, I can’t point to those directly but I am sure more will be coming. But as of now, the website is the best source.
Bob: Well, you know, we have a great partnership with Lincoln so I’m absolutely confident that we’re gonna do everything we can, on the Imagine America side, to keep pumping out this information. Because it’s absolutely critical that we continue to assist eligible high school students get the kind of quality education that they need and that is provided by Lincoln Tech.
In closing, I just want to thank you, Scott, for joining us today. As president of Imagine America Foundation, we appreciate your continued support by way of Imagine America scholarships. And for our listeners’ understanding, Lincoln Tech has literally helped thousands of our Imagine America students in enrolling at Lincoln Tech and getting admissions-based scholarships, and we’re deeply grateful to you for doing that.
Scott, thank you for joining us on this edition of Imagine America Radio.
Scott: Thanks Bob and Lee. Appreciate it.