A few weeks ago I began a series addressing each of the 15 Departments of the Federal Executive Branch of the government. The goal is to give you the information you need to begin identifying departments who may be buying your products and services.
This department is one we are all familiar with. The Department of Education is charged with establishing the policies for the nation’s schools and it coordinates most federal education assistance. There are a dozen key agencies that support the Department of Education; some of which are familiar to us as well. They include the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Office of Postsecondary Education, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, the Office of Vocational and Adult Education and Federal Student Aid.
The aforementioned agencies are the ones that we think of when we think of the public school systems. Curriculum, assistive technology, textbooks, testing, accreditations and more, from Pre-K - Graduate levels, are all handled by these agencies. If your business supports educating Americans, it’s likely to fall under the Department of Education.
With the Department of Education - and all of the departments, for that matter - I encourage you to think vertically. Vertical integration is a big issue in corporate strategy, especially with firms reevaluating what parts of their value chain they want to keep and which parts to outsource. For example, your company may perform binding services including spiral binding for workbooks. A textbook publisher may outsource the binding portion of their business because it isn’t cost effective to have the equipment needed when that is such a small part of their overall business. Your firm could be the partner to whom they outsource.
Continue thinking “outside the box” and look at grant opportunities for your business. We don’t often think about grants when we think of government contracts but those options are readily available as well. The Office of Innovation and Improvement, for instance, makes strategic investments in innovative educational programs and they administer more than 25 grant programs, i.e. Charter schools. In this agency, in particular, and the Department of Education in general, you’ll find a lot of grant opportunities.
The last few agencies that complete the 12 key agencies of the Department of Education are the Office for Civil Rights, the Institute for Education Sciences, the Office of English Language Acquisition, the National Assessment Governing Board and the National Center for Education Statistics.
The Institute for Education Sciences provides the evidence on which education policies and practices are based via four centers; the evaluation center, research center, statistics center and the special education research center. If your company conducts research or develops analytical software or manufactures assistive technology for special needs kids, then there may be contracting opportunities in the Institute of Education Sciences for you to consider.
As I mentioned earlier, this series is to move you beyond the obvious needs you may think of when you consider some of these departments and see what actual niches may exist for your business. The goal is to get you started down the right path so that you can truly see what opportunities await.