Career Colleges Prepare & Train America’s Workforce

Government does not create American jobs. Small businesses are the ones that put Americans to work. And many job creators need employees with specific skills, which they receive at career colleges and universities.

These institutions provide the training that employers are looking for when it comes to hiring new workers. Without these schools, employing a workforce with the education that is needed to help a small business thrive would be exceedingly difficult.

Amazingly, the ability of small businesses to hire the best possible workers is now threatened by an Obama Administration proposal that would block Federal aid to students attending career colleges and universities, making it nearly impossible for these students to stay in school.

Career colleges and universities offer their students training for specialized professions, while providing a flexible learning environment. Most of their students enroll because they need accommodating schedules and convenient locations. They often come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, are adult learners and face the added burden of balancing family life with education.

I attended one of these schools and learned the skills to build a business that employs 10 people. Without a career college, I and many of my staff would not have received a diploma and I would not have a job today.

I graduated from Herzing University with a Bachelor’s Degree in 2001. I was the first in my family to go to college. I had a family of my own, so I needed something that allowed me to work and go to school at the same time. I started working full time when I earned my Associates degree, and I took night classes to earn my Bachelor’s degree. In 2006, I started an IT consulting company. We currently have 6 full time and 4 part time employees. We are growing fast and I hope to double in 2 years. I always look to the private schools first for employees as I know they have the training on up to date technology.

Students at career colleges have a 38% higher completion rate than their counterparts at community colleges and account for a disproportionate percentage of graduates in health care, computer-data processing and other fields that are expected to add 1.8 million new American jobs through 2016 despite the Great Recession. Moreover, career colleges are a good value for taxpayers, providing, on average, twice the return on investment for each dollar spent when compared with community colleges.

But career colleges are now in the crosshairs of community colleges and publicly-supported education think tanks. These other schools are pressuring the Department of Education to limit Federal funding for schools whose students have an unduly high ratio of debt to post-graduation income.

The proposal – innocuously entitled “Gainful Employment” – would adversely impact career college students since many enter school already from modest or low incomes and are more likely to take on student loan debt on their path to graduation.

By disproportionately impacting career colleges, the “Gainful Employment” rule would set draconian standards that would result in the elimination of financial aid for as many as 360,000 students, including full-time workers, single parents, returning veterans and the disabled.

By denying students the ability to get a diploma, this proposal ensures a more difficult path for those trying to enter the workforce. At a time when the economy is ailing, denying opportunities to learn new skills leaves more people at risk of unemployment and promises to increase the reliance on social programs.

If the bureaucrats advancing this initiative were being honest, they would call it the “Boost Unemployment” rule.

Craig Harmel is the owner of C2Tek and graduated from Herzing College (now University) with an A.S. Degree in electronics and began his career in the electronics field as a Production Technician at Soft Switching Technologies Corporation in Middleton WI. Craig returned to Herzing College to pursue his B.S. Degree in Electronics & Computer Technology in 2001. While taking full time classes and working full time, he graduated with Cum Laude honors.