E is for Earnings Generation

Day five of the September SCALERS series: 

Earnings-Generation: “the effectiveness with which the organization generates a stream of revenue that exceeds its expenses.” (Bloom & Chatterji, 2009)

This piece was originally published on the blog Accelerating Achievement and is bring reprinted with permission. Accelerating Achievement features news and research from the Developmental Education Initiative, an effort by MDC, a nonprofit in Chapel Hill, N.C., to scale up effective remedial education practices at community colleges and states that were early participants in Achieving the Dream, a national community college reform effort. DEI is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Lumina Foundation.


SCALERS Series: E is for Earnings Generation

In the original SCALERS model, the “Earnings Generation” driver is focused on creating additional revenue to support a particular enterprise; public institutions’ revenue-generating activity will be limited and not likely associated with the specific program or practice being scaled up. 

However, the expansion team still needs to consider the resources required to grow and sustain the program—and not just financial resources. We call this the “Resources” driver, and it helps focus the institution on securing and managing a program’s necessary staffing, space, technology, and other infrastructure needs.

Your team does have to think about funds; how do grants—local, state, and federal—influence the design of your program and the strategy you use to take a program to scale. Make sure that funds for expansion are included in an approved budget. Have a sustainability plan to secure continued funding over the life of the program. Consider a 2-3 year plan, as well as a longer-term plan, looking out 5-10 years. This attention to funding is especially important if the program was launched with time-limited monies. The institution will need to consider staffing here, too; an individual responsible for expansion must understand the hiring process and have the authority to make hiring decisions and authorize related expenditures.

If a program is expanding, there likely will be expanding space and technology needs. A scaling plan must include time to secure necessary office, training, and service accommodations. Depending on the nature of the program, the college also must acquire additional hardware, software, and telecommunications equipment. It is not just matter of purchasing equipment and clearing out space; the college also should ensure vital facilities and technical support are available. Clear communication is essential here as well; affected individuals must be apprised of any space or technology modifications and the organization should secure their commitment to support expansion.

Developmental Education Initiative campuses have dealt with resource issues in a variety of ways. Cuyahoga Community College has stretched professional development dollars by bringing trainers to campus rather than sending individuals to offsite conferences and courses. This allows more faculty to take advantage of professional development opportunities. Zane State College addressed limited computer lab space by purchasing laptop computers to create mobile labs that can move from classroom to classroom.