Why Managed Services for Education
School district administrators wear many hats — developing and administering programs, managing staff, and consulting with parents.
“There has got to be a better way.” How many times has this thought crossed the minds of Special Education Directors, Superintendents and other school administrators? In addition to developing and administering programs, managing staff and consulting with parents, they’re also trying to recruit and hire new special education professionals, often at a moment’s notice. Working with multiple staffing agencies takes time away from what really matters – providing students with quality care and education – and let’s be honest, forcing already overworked educators to do yet another job.
The good news is, they are right. There is a better way. Managed Service Providers (MSPs) will ease their workload and let someone else take on the burden of managing their temporary staffing program. Instead of multiple agency vendors, multiple bill rates and dozens of phone calls and emails, school administrators can now reach all their vendors through one contact, putting time back in their day and dollars back on their bottom line.
An MSP (Managed Service Provider) is a firm that steps in and manages their client’s staffing program from recruitment to payment. They stay on top of ever-changing labor regulations, credentialing and provide consolidated invoicing to free their clients up so they can focus on other tasks, saving them time and money.
MSPs emerged to fill a need for large corporations with staffing programs consisting of thousands of temporary workers and hundreds of staffing vendors. Originally utilized in manufacturing, MSPs began to move into the healthcare industry a decade ago and hospital systems noticed immediate improvements in scheduling efficiencies and less billing discrepancies causing the service to seep into other facets of healthcare staffing. Today, schools across the county are utilizing this service to ease the load of overworked administrative staff.
One challenge all employers face regardless of their industry is the ability to locate professionals with the specific skillset and credentials they require. Unemployment in the US is the lowest it’s been since 20001, with more specialized positions such as school professionals at an even lower rate. Hiring managers and talent acquisition firms alike are rushing to come up with new ways to recruit and entice qualified professionals into their positions. MSPs benefit from a vast network of providers. While their clients still only make one phone call, they now have the power of ten or more firms working hard to find the right fit and fill the position.
On any given day, a Special Education Director may have multiple and varying open positions to fill throughout the district, potentially 100s to 1000s of individualized education programs (IEPs) to oversee, a number of homebound students to supervise and a pile of reports to file. Perhaps, they find out two employees are taking maternity leave soon and two more will resign at the end of the school year.
To overcome these obstacles, the Special Education Director must now have to make numerous phone calls, salespeople and interviews that may or may not result in finding someone who fits their needs and represents their school’s mission and vision.
If they do eventually find the right fit, they are now flooded with additional monthly time sheets and invoices that get passed on to the accounting team and the never-ending parade of paperwork continues.
Educators should be educators. Not secretaries, not business managers, not accountants and certainly not staffing experts.
While educators focus on the education of our youth, MSPs focus on the business side of things. Multiple openings? Make one phone call. Staff going out on maternity leave and getting reassigned? Make one phone call. The MSP will utilize the list of the school’s approved vendors to fill those openings. In addition, the MSP will manage those invoices and process the billing.
Most traditional MSPs today operate on a vendor-funded model. That means the MSP takes a percentage from vendor invoices to cover costs associated with sourcing, selecting and onboarding and managing talent. While this may seem fair on the surface, digging a little deeper into what this type of model actually means paints a different picture. Now the agencies trying to find the most qualified special education professionals must somehow work this fee into the rate they charge the school or how much they pay the professionals.
A fee-based model will put constraints on an already scarce candidate market.
Schools run the risk of contractors not wanting to work for them because their employers are being charged. And if you have less-than-qualified people working in your school district, your students aren’t getting the best care.