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Four Strategies to Elevate Your Head Start Recruitment This Season

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As we find ourselves at the end of January, the reality of the 2024-2025 Head Start recruitment season is already upon us. It might seem premature, but laying the groundwork early can make all the difference when it comes to securing a robust cohort for the upcoming program year. While the current year demands your attention, forward-thinking planning and early outreach efforts can significantly benefit your recruitment initiatives. 

In our experience, the ERSEA process, particularly its recruitment phase, truly takes root during this time of the year. Tangible tasks include updating applications, refining income documentation forms, enhancing ERSEA systems and procedures, and identifying families whose children will meet the age cutoff for the next program year. 

Beyond these essential tasks lie more nuanced strategies that can elevate your recruitment process: 

  • Leverage Your Community Assessment: Identify areas where income-eligible families reside. Forge connections with local TANF/SSI/SNAP offices. Collaborate with WIC and Housing Authorities to reach families within the community. Establish partnerships with local schools to disseminate information to families with children under 5. Work with IDEA providers to identify children with disabilities who could benefit from a Head Start/Early Head Start program. 

  • Reflect on Past Recruitment Efforts: Assess the effectiveness of referrals from community partners. Identify successful referral sources and determine when families engage with these providers. Replicate successful practices and continue building strong relationships with community partners to fortify recruitment efforts.  

  • Internal Collaboration: Connect with your team members and discover their existing involvements. Share information about your program within your organization. Explore opportunities for staff members to bring back recruitment materials to share with friends and family. Consider innovative approaches, such as bus drivers distributing flyers between routes or Policy Council members sharing recruitment materials at their respective sites.  

  • Strategic Allocation of Fiscal Resources: Invest in recruitment by allocating fiscal resources effectively. Devote funds for marketing materials and recruitment efforts. Determine which teams have the time and resources to support recruitment during specific periods of the year. Develop high-quality marketing resources to generate interest within the community and boost application numbers.  

In conclusion, the success of the 2024-2025 recruitment season rests on meticulous planning, strategic partnerships, and thoughtful resource allocation. As you embark on this journey, remember that an early start and a comprehensive approach will not only streamline the process but also contribute to the growth and accessibility of Head Start programs for the benefit of all families in your community. Seize the opportunity to make a lasting impact on the lives of the children and families you serve.

Interested in learning more about this topic or other ways you can improve your program? The team at Sawyer Consulting Solutions is here to help you showcase all the amazing ways your program supports the community. Schedule a free, no-obligation, no-cost discovery call with us today. 

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