Shortage Solutions 14: Migration

I recently had an exchange on Facebook where I had to explain my stance on the shortage. For those that don’t know, the Speech-to-Text Institute has weaponized the shortage against stenographers, claiming it is impossible to solve or irreversible. Their statistics ignore the recruitment over the last decade and use the shortage to say that digital court reporting must be used. They also ignore that we have survived shortages before. Basically STTI is marketing for digital court reporting masquerading under the banner of supporting all three modalities of spoken word recordation.

What inevitably happens is that my nuanced stance on shortage gets lost. People see me speaking against the current industry paradigm and it confuses them. The reason for this confusion is simple. As of the Ducker Report, more than 50% of court reporting was estimated to be in California, Illinois, Texas, and New York. Those states all had a forecasted supply gap in the hundreds or thousands. Reporters that come from those states, possibly the majority of reporters, will be noticing the shortage more than other states.

I believe one additional way to solve our problem is to begin cross-state recruitment. My financial resources are tapped at the moment, but this is something any association or organization with some time and money could try. Basically, when Ducker came out, it told us some states would be facing surpluses, some states would be facing a one-digit supply gap as of 2018, some states would be facing two or three-digit supply gaps. Then California was in a league of its own, with a supply gap of over 2,000 predicted in California.

Stated another way, the states with bigger shortage concerns can begin a targeted campaign to bring reporters from states with smaller shortage concerns. I pledge to use Stenonymous to make announcements for any association that wants to put out a press release or post along those lines. I can also help with crafting a social media ad for an interested organization. I’ve built this thing out and I have readers in many states. Stenonymous is an avenue to get stenographic news out. Please don’t hesitate to contact me at contact@stenonymous.com. Consider the blog a resource for you.

Here is a list of the states and where they stood on the forecast. You can get this information from page 14 and onward of the Ducker Report.

Surplus:

Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Hampshire, Wyoming and Vermont.

Single Digit Supply Gap:

Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Rhode Island

Double Digit Supply Gap:

Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia.

Triple Digit Supply Gap:

Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin.

Quadruple digit gap:

California

Conclusions:

California and the triple-digit states should make efforts to advertise to reporters in the surplus and one-digit states. Notably, some of those states have a very low overall forecasted supply. Going by the forecasted supply, it would make sense to prioritize recruiting from Florida (915), Louisiana (750), and Kentucky (330). Recruiting from Delaware, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Wyoming might not be viable because all of those states were forecasted to have a supply under 100 and very small surpluses. Obviously, the surplus states were not forecasted as having a large enough surplus to cover the shortage, so recruitment is still important, but a bit of migration might solve more immediate staffing needs.

Again, this particular idea cannot solve the shortage by itself. It is just one idea in the sea that is court reporting recruitment, and I hope sharing it helps spread ideas.

Outreach Webinar by Project Steno – June 6, 2021

The New York State Court Reporters Association is promoting Project Steno’s June 6 outreach webinar, as told by NYSCRA’s Transcript Weekly, posted earlier today by NYSCRA Social Media Committee Chair Marina Dubson. Though stenographers have made great strides in recruitment and introducing people to this field through efforts like NCRA A to Z, Open Steno, and Project Steno, there remains a need to get word out to high school students and staff that court reporting is a viable and vibrant career that young people should give serious consideration. Resources will be provided, and it can all only be seen as a wonderful complement to the resources already published by the National Court Reporters Association. If you’ve got some time to attend at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time this Sunday, definitely consider registering today!

Because this is an image, you cannot click the link.

Shortage Solutions 7: Recruitment

Check out our new table of contents!

So today we’re going to put into words one of the philosophies we go by. We have been over lots of ways for professionals and companies to beat the shortage or perceived shortage. Today we’re going to dive into the numbers.

Hopefully, we can all agree that stenography is somewhat easy to learn but incredibly difficult to do fast. Even if we can’t agree on that, we can agree there’s a high dropout rate because of the amount of focus and practice that goes into doing what we do. There is a certain percentage of people that hear about stenography, a certain percentage of people that try it, a certain percentage that like it, and a certain percentage that love it and want it to be their career. Empirically, it is difficult, and perhaps impossible, to make the education easier without sacrificing performance. So the amount of people that make it to the end will pretty much always be lower.

So let’s fake some numbers. Let’s say for every 1000 people that hear about steno, 100 try it. Let’s say 10 of those 100 are good. Let’s say 1 of those 10 loves this field and wants it to be their career. Can we, as professionals, impact those bottom numbers, and get it to be, you know, 5 people who love it and want to make it a career? A 500 percent increase? Debatable. I say let’s try.

But what do we have very direct control over? That first number. The number of people who hear about stenography. The number of people who know it’s a thing. How many people have you met that don’t believe we exist anymore? How many people have you met that don’t believe we are typing or taking down every word?

Indeed, these are likely the same principles on which A to Z, Project Steno, or Open Steno Project were founded. It’s about lowering barriers like tuition or general steno knowledge. It’s about understanding that every impression has a chance at getting someone to start the path, and that every person that starts the path has a shot at finishing it, however low or high you think that shot is.

There are different ways to perform this outreach, via social media, physical appearance at job fairs, or use of other avenues. There are already many people who have taken up recruitment efforts, and if it’s something you’re into, you can either join an existing movement or jumpstart your own thing. 10 years ago, a lot of the programs we’ve just mentioned were in their infancy or didn’t exist at all. Who is to say that your own idea won’t take off the same way?