As Connect Co-Chairs and responsible staff, we wanted to update you on the progress for the virtual AGPA Connect 2021. Program proposals have been reviewed and invitations are well underway. We anticipate that the Institute program will be finalized and available for viewing on the website within the next couple of weeks. Conference information will follow shortly thereafter. We are excited about this opportunity and hope that you will join us by registering online. All early registrants will receive a sneak peek of the program offerings and an opportunity for priority enrollment.
There has been some question about why the fees for the virtual AGPA Connect 2021 were not further reduced. Some people expect that there would be such enormous savings by not being onsite that the cost to participants should be much less. We did remove costs associated with catering experienced during the meeting. However, while it is true that we will not have meeting logistical fees, hotel set-up fees nor audiovisual equipment expenses we are swapping them for technology and customer support expenses. Yes, some organizations may be able to mount their conferences for much less, however most do not provide the experiential nature of our program.
Our meeting with the variety of offerings is complicated to execute in person at a hotel site; planning this event virtually will present greater challenges. We are planning to continue to offer over 50 simultaneous Institute sections, 20 open sessions and close to 100 workshops and courses. Events will be presented both live and pre-recorded which requires a huge amount of coordination and will require the use and integration of multiple platforms and additional outsourced personnel.
The experiential nature of AGPA Connect is what makes it so special to all of us—and it is also what makes it so labor-intensive and costly. Our goal is to assure that we do not lose this special quality in moving to the virtual format and continue to bring to our attendees the quality programming and memorable experiences that they have become accustomed to over the years.
We have already reviewed several virtual meeting platforms and have more under consideration in terms of capacity and costs involved. Our fixed costs with personnel and everything leading up to the time of the meeting will not be lessened, and may actually be greater, and we are not at all certain what we can expect in terms of attendance.
Please support the virtual AGPA Connect and register now and alert your colleagues to this opportunity. We are encouraging those who might not be able to attend because of travel costs to be able to join us this time. Value added this year is that recorded sessions will be available for all plenaries and open sessions and attendees will have access to the sessions during the meeting as well as after. Scholarship opportunities also continue to be available for students, early career professionals and agency personnel so invite them to join us too; the scholarship application can be found here.
We want to call out all of the AGPA Connect Committee members for their talent and sustained efforts during this process! We are truly blessed to have them.