As the internet and technology continue to advance, they also begin to reshape, and, in some cases, destruct certain industries. However, one industry continues to defy the changes caused by the digital world and offers a long-term career path: education.
“Education is an industry that will always flourish because it offers the opportunity to invest in your child by providing them with the skills to achieve any aspirations they desire,” said Sylvan Learning senior director of franchise development Georgia Chasen. “Education provides individuals with the framework for learning various academic lessons that they take with them out of the classroom and apply to other aspects of their life.”
Whether you’re an educator, school administrator, or the director at a tutoring center, the education industry is poised to retain consistent business and offer job security for a number of occupations. Catherine Oberholzer, who is set to open a Sylvan Learning in Marana, Arizona this fall, has left two different industries that are on the decline to pursue business ownership in the education industry.
“In the past, I worked in both the retail industry and in brokerage. From the point I entered and left both careers, these industries evolved into completely different entities due to advancements in technology,” Oberholzer said.
As a broker, Oberholzer believes the internet took control of the relationship between an individual and their finances. All of the information she provided to her clients can now be found online at no cost.
Retail is another industry that has been redefined by digitalization. The shift to online shopping in the past few years has been monumental and has changed the way customers browse, purchase and receive clothing and other goods.
Oberholzer worked as a District Manager for a major retailer in the San Francisco Bay area for several years and once held responsibility for 13 locations. In addition to the fact that the retail industry has seen a major shift to online shopping, maintaining the land for your shop can also be expensive and stressful.
“The cost to have the physical shop up and running is a major investment for retailers. You start hiring fewer employees to keep the payroll manageable, and, due to online shopping, you see fewer people walking into the store,” said Oberholzer. “I’ve seen people starting to close their physical units and simply do all of their work with customers online.”
Oberholzer wanted to take the next step in her career as a business owner in an industry that wouldn’t be susceptible to these shifts in technology. She was introduced to Sylvan Learning a few years ago as she was researching learning instructors to work with her daughter who has dyslexia. Oberholzer visited the Sylvan Learning in Bend, Oregon, where she and her family lived at the time, and the previous director at the location worked side-by-side with Oberholzer and her daughter to determine the best learning and tutoring programs available for children with learning differences.
Oberholzer was extremely impressed with the professionalism and sincere care exhibited by the staff at Sylvan as well as the brand’s educational structure, prompting her to open her own location. She and her two daughters moved to Arizona to seek better educational services for her child with dyslexia. Oberholzer will open her first Sylan Learning in Marana and plans to open a second in Tucson by 2019.
While education has made some shifts in technology with more schools and universities offering online courses, Oberholzer believes that it will not take over the need for in-person teaching and learning. A recent national research study states that 78 percent of more than 1,000 students surveyed prefer traditional classes over online courses.
“Education is an industry that continues to grow and evolve as others are dying,” said Oberholzer. “Children need that face-to-face interaction with their teachers and instructors, not only for the purpose of better communication and the ability to visualize learning concepts, but also to grasp the inspiration needed to be pushed to their full potential.”
Aside from regular schooling, Oberholzer said tutoring centers like Sylvan are becoming even more prevalent as the need for more specialized learning strategies rises. These strategies include STEM courses, which focus on teaching in-depth science, technology, engineering and math skills at a young age, and test prep courses.
“What’s great about a place like Sylvan is that students receive the same kind of interaction with teachers and other children like they would at school but also experience a higher level of attention on their personal learning needs,” Oberholzer said. “I’m eager to get my center open and join a growing and vibrant industry.”