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Amid Persistent Staffing Shortage, New Program Focuses on Front-Line Skills 

February 17, 2024

With the staffing shortage showing no sign of abating within educational facilities organizations, FM leaders are redoubling efforts to strengthen the skills and cohesiveness of the teams they have. The newest program to address these goals is APPA’s Invest in Success program, whose official kick-off will be a two-day virtual event March 27 and 28, 2024. Limited registration spots are available, with dramatic savings for individuals from APPA member institutions ($195/person, compared to $395 for non-members).  

Invest in Success is designed to develop and inspire front-line facilities and operations staff at educational institutions by providing them with the foundational knowledge and interpersonal skills to help them succeed in their roles and make more positive contributions to the success of their teams and the institution overall.  

Developed by Michelle Frederick, the training and organizational manager for facilities and administrative services at American University, Invest in Success develops individual understanding and behaviors that enhance FM professionals’ ability to be valuable contributors to their organizations. In the first module, attendees learn about personal empowerment and biases, emotional intelligence, and fostering trust through relationships and open communication. In the second module, they learn to mitigate biases, create trust with coworkers, and develop communication skills as foundational to relationships. 

Attendees of the pilot Invest in Success program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, April 2023.

Invest in Success was piloted in two 2023 programs on the campuses of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and the University of Wisconsin–Madison. “Invest in Success fills a much-needed gap in our professional development offerings for staff members,” said Celeste Spier, director of organizational development at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. “Front-line operations/facilities employees are often overlooked for professional development. Several participants informed me after the sessions that this program was their first opportunity to participate in formal learning at their job. This gap presents a tremendous opportunity for learning and growth within the organization, but also an opportunity to engage and show our appreciation for these staff members.” 

Participants in those pilot programs agreed, describing Invest in Success as “very helpful and informative,” relevant to their day-to-day work experiences, and providing insights they expected to apply to their professional as well as personal lives. 

Learn more and register for Invest in Success. Space is limited, and the March 27–28 course is expected to fill up quickly. 

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