Editor’s Note: Back to School

By Teresa O’Dea Hein, Managing EditorBack to school is a time of mixed emotions for many. While it means that the endless days and nights of summer are over—remember how long July and August felt when you were a kid?—fall brings an energy and excitement of its own. It’s a time of new school clothes, of stationery and supplies plastered with the latest pop culture icons, and the fresh pages of brand-new notebooks and binders, their blank sheets brimming with promise and potential.Now that kids are settled back in school, what’s on the agenda for you and your staff? Education shouldn’t be wasted on the young. There are many ways to advance professional development, from on-site seminars to online courses and industry conferences.In fact, from Sept. 17-19, MHN’s entire editorial staff will be learning on the job along with fellow attendees at our own conference, Multi-Housing World. When not moderating programs, MHN editors will be jotting notes at the wide variety of seminars on the multi-faceted schedule. Check out our coverage on www.multi-housingnews.com. Perhaps we’ll see some of you there in Denver! Please stop by MHN’s booth to say hi.Fogelman Management Group, profiled in this issue’s Perspective section, operates a strong training program. Another property management company, Dominium, even puts on an actual graduation ceremony, complete with caps and gowns, to recognize employees who’ve completed courses in Dominium University, its own in-house program.With more courses now available online, you’re running out of excuses not to continue the education of yourself and/or your staffers. Maureen Lambe, CAE,
executive vice president of the National Apartment Association’s Education Institute (NAAEI), reports that the Institute has just launched a new way to become a Certified Apartment Manager (CAM) via an online course that can be done whenever it’s convenient for the property manager.Lambe notes that some executives worry that once they’ve spent money on training employees, they’ll leave the company for greener pastures. To combat that, she explains, a few firms have developed agreements that employees sign, promising to pay back the expenses of job-related courses if they resign within a certain period of time—often pro-rating costs over a four-year term.Furthermore, Lambe adds, “It’s been demonstrated that companies that invest in their employees and provide industry-specific professional development program typically find that enhances their ability to retain employees. “When times get tough, that isn’t the time to cut education,” Lambe points out. “You want well-trained people who can better evaluate what can be done to increase NOI, come up with effective operating strategies and figure out what can be done to improve the bottom line.”In fact, Lambe says that one leading management firm has found that NOI increases by up to $400 per door on a property where the apartment manager is certified.Please email me (thein@multi-housingnews.com) about what your company is doing to help educate your workforce. What is working best for you? How are employees reacting? What advice would you share with other property management executives?