One of the primary questions raised regarding the Career Impact Academy is the sustainability of the facility. While funding to build CTE Centers hasn’t been available in more than half a century, the North Dakota Department of CTE does provide exceptional support to CTE programming and reimburses 40% of program costs including instructor salaries, benefits, supplies, and travel expenses. In addition, that reimbursement percentage increases for each school district participating (i.e. enrolling students) in individual CTE program offerings. Therefore, on average, at least 50% of the ongoing costs of operating the center (staff, supplies, travel) is being provided by the state on an on-going basis.
Speaking of teachers, Grand Forks Public Schools currently employs high quality CTE instructors within the majority of the proposed programs being envisioned for the Career Impact Academy. The staffing levels needed for the Academy, if all programs are offered, is projected to be 16 full-time equivalent (FTE) staff members. Grand Forks Public Schools already employs 12 of the needed 16 FTEs. These staff are currently providing CTE courses at Red River and GF Central High School. The vision is to relocate those 12 existing staff members into the Career Impact Academy, resulting in the need to only hire 4 additional FTEs to cover all proposed programs.
Following the funding model of the successful virtual Grand Forks Area Career & Technology Center (GFACTC), all member school districts, including Central Valley, Thompson, Hatton, Northwood, Larimore, Hillsboro, May-Port CG, and Grand Forks contribute membership fees each year to have access to the online courses. A similar funding model will be determined between the participating schools of the Career Impact Academy to cover the local share of the programming costs. Program equipment needs are addressed through the combination of the Federal Carl D. Perkins funding, in-kind contributions from industry, and relocating existing equipment over to the Career Impact Academy.
The Career Impact Academy also has many opportunities for revenue streams that aren’t available to a traditional K-12 building, which would contribute to ongoing operational costs. Adult education programs and employee retraining that happen after 9-3 would provide opportunities for revenue from area employers who want to use the facility. Additionally partnering post-secondary institutions will also be able to teach coursework out of the Academy, providing ongoing financial support. There are also many opportunities for revenue from other spaces within the Academy, such as a rentable commercial kitchen space or a community event room.