"The downside of an upside" is how Alpena Community College President Olin Joynton phrased ACC's declining enrollment numbers.
The term is very accurate. ACC's enrollment right now is exactly that - "the downside of an upside."
Joynton explained the decline started several years ago when the state's recession ended and the economy began showing signs of improvement.
"More people couldn't find work and went to school three years ago when our enrollment peaked ... they are now able to find employment and feed their families. That is all good, and ACC has to fit the community and adjust to the ups and downs of these trends."
We so agree. And, we believe ACC is doing a great job at that by offering new course studies and concentrations such as the marine technology program. Certainly they are trying to stay relevant and change with the times.
Also, it is no surprise to us that enrollment has declined - again, as the result of the economy. U.S. Census figures tell us that over 2,000 residents left Alpena County alone from 2000 to 2010. That is in just one county of ACC's coverage area, yet it represents a significant loss of potential students.
Certainly all of us are pleased the economy is improving, that there is indeed an "upside" taking place.
Joynton told his board this week the key to the college's future will be that everyone will need to build on existing relationships, be ready for new opportunities and attract new students to unique technical programs.
It is a good strategy. If the college continues to advertise its strengths and shares its success stories with the public, forget "the downside of an upside" and instead, it will be a "win-win" for everyone.