BAVC Strategic Issue 2 & 3

Bay Area Video Coalition Strategic Issue 2

BAVC is finding it hard to retain experienced technicians and trainers due to the low salary it offers in comparison to organizations in the private sector.

BAVC’s mission is to provide access to video equipment and offer technical assistance with video production for non-commercial purposes.  BAVC accomplishes this by training low income individuals in various high-tech job skills, and by teaching its customers how they can utilize different skills and technologies in their future careers.  BAVC’s status as a non-profit organization limits its ability to charge for services, which results in a limited amount of capital.  Consequently, BAVC is unable to provide its workers with salaries that are large enough to be competitive among for-profit organizations.  Another compounding factor is that much of BAVC’s working capital must be used to support its high-end services and invest in the new technologies that are needed for the organization to succeed and expand into the future.  BAVC’s first priority is keeping the organization afloat; competitive salaries are not a high priority.

BAVC’s inability to provide competitive salaries makes recruiting qualified technicians and trainers very difficult.  In addition, it is tough for BAVC to keep its current employees because at any moment, they can leave BAVC for a similar job at a for-profit organization, which has the ability to offer a higher salary.  This problem was caused in part by the Internet boom; BAVC is directly competing with many dot-coms for talent.  This is a huge disadvantage for BAVC because the company simply does not have enough capital to pay its workers such high salaries.  This means that BAVC must find another way to entice people to join the organization.

Because technological change occurs so rapidly, there is always demand for training in new media technologies.  Now more than ever, it is crucial to keep BAVC’s current employees and attract new qualified individuals to the organization.  Without having qualified technicians and trainers, BAVC cannot effectively provide its services and may hurt its reputation; BAVC’s strong, socially responsible reputation is one of the reasons that people choose it over the competition.  If BAVC is unable to find a way to improve its employee retention and attract new qualified applicants, the organization will not be able to continue providing its services in the non-profit sector.

Bay Area Video Coalition Strategic Issue 3

BAVC’s job placement for its MediaLink program has decreased substantially as of late because of the increase in laid-off talent in the Bay Area market.

MediaLink is a new workforce development program created by BAVC to train low-income individuals in new media technologies.  The program was backed financially by the city government.  The main goal of the program is to provide its students with marketable skills that are relevant to finding a job in the current market, where barriers to entry are high.  Specifically, MediaLink aims to serve students with existing proficiencies in computer and internet basics by offering more advanced skills, which are required for entry-level positions in the media field.  The program was an immediate success; sixty percent of the program’s first graduates were hired by media companies within three months of completing the program.  The following year, the placement rate of graduates increased to seventy percent.

The first problem with the MediaLink program arose between 1999 and 2000, when BAVC was unable to find enough qualified trainers in the labor market to continue expanding the program.  At its’ peak in 2000, the placement rate for graduates of the MediaLink program was ninety-five percent.  In early 2001, the market began to tighten, and many highly skilled workers were laid off.  This caused a flood of talent to saturate the Bay Area market.  This presented a problem for BAVC because the graduates of MediaLink had less training than many of the laid-off workers.  As a result, MediaLink’s job placement rate for graduates plummeted to sixty-eight percent.  The local press in the Bay Area publicized the drastic change in the placement rate and made a big deal of the challenges that BAVC would face in reenergizing the program.  The underlying issue is that people will not join the MediaLink program unless they believe it will help them get a job after graduation.  If this problem is not remedied soon, BAVC could see a substantial drop in program enrollment.