CECU: Shortage of Skilled Veterinary Technicians in America

​October 7, 2016, Washington, DC – This month the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 7.9 million Americans are unemployed, while at the same time 5.9 million jobs remain unfilled in America. This crisis exists because employers demand "job-ready" employees and prospective employees are simply not able to bridge the skills gap without appropriate career education and training. 
One occupation that will be particularly affected by this skills gap is veterinary technicians. Employment of veterinary technologists and technicians is projected to grow 19 percent from 2014 to 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics – significantly faster than the projected 7% average job growth for all occupations. Nearly 18,000 new veterinary technicians will be needed to fill these jobs.

Officials at the United States Department of Agriculture have expressed concern over the looming shortage: “Forty percent of our top-level leadership can retire now,” Jack Shere, Veterinary Services Deputy Administrator of USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) recently said at the USDA Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Animal Health (SACAH) meeting in Washington, D.C. If this crisis is not addressed soon, it could have huge impacts on the American public.

Adequately training veterinary students will be crucial to ensuring new technicians are prepared to enter the field as baby boomers retire, otherwise a crippling shortage of skilled workers will exist. But across the country, veterinary technician programs are closing their doors. According to a recent article from the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, more than 30 private sector veterinary programs are in the process of shutting down. The article notes that the issues these schools are facing stem largely from a “challenging federal regulatory environment,” including the gainful employment regulation.

“Students in our sector’s Veterinary Technology programs learn the fundamentals such as diagnostic imaging, laboratory procedures, and veterinary office practices – in a practical hands-on manner. This classwork is paired with externship rotations that include various animal care environments to give students real-world experience,” said Steve Gunderson, president and CEO of CECU.

“The importance of veterinary programs cannot be overstated, nor can the threat of burdensome regulations on the future existence of these programs,” added Gunderson. “It is clear the demand exists for these graduates, but out-of-touch regulations threaten to eliminate programs training students for in demand careers.”

About Shortage of Skills 
Each month CECU will profile America's "Shortage of Skills" (SoS) in one key industry. We will examine industries that are critical to America's economic advancement and explain how a well-educated and well-trained workforce can address these issues.

Previous months have looked at:

Cyber Security
Accountants And Bookkeepers
Construction And Skilled Trades
Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning And Refrigeration
Beauty And Wellness
Information Technology
Automotive Repair
Health Care
Transportation, Distribution, And Logistics

About Career Education Colleges and Universities (CECU) 
Career Education Colleges and Universities (CECU) is a membership organization of accredited institutions of higher education that provide postsecondary education with a career focus. CECU's work supports thousands of campuses that educate millions of students.

CECU Press Release: CECU Statement on ACICS Termination

Washington, DC - September 22, 2016 - The below statement can be attributed to Steve Gunderson, president and CEO of CECU:

"The U.S. Department of Education's decision today will have horrible ramifications for hundreds of thousands of students, thousands of dedicated faculty and staff, and hundreds of communities and employers that rely on institutions accredited by ACICS.

"No Administration has politicized accreditation like the current one. To act in such a partisan and biased manner will do nothing to help new traditional students. Instead of working with stakeholders on all sides of the issue and creating a solution that preserves access, the Department once again takes the path of greatest destruction.  

"This is disappointing. The pain will not be felt by the political appointees and bureaucrats in Washington, DC, but ordinary Americans trying to improve their livelihood.

"There are already too many innocent students on the street as victims of this Department's war on the sector. We call on the Department to take the necessary steps to support schools and students in any transition."

The Washington Post: Shutting down for-profit schools could hurt more people than it would help

NEVER MIND that the higher education plans of tens of thousands of students will be disrupted. Or that 8,000 people will lose their jobs. Or that American taxpayers could be on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars in forgiven student loans. What is apparently of most importance to the Obama administration is its ideological opposition to for-profit colleges and universities. That’s a harsh conclusion, but it is otherwise hard to explain why the Education Department has unabashedly used administrative muscle to destroy another company in the beleaguered industry.

ITT Technical Institutes, one of the nation’s largest for-profit educational chains, on Tuesday abruptly announced that after 50 years in business it was shutting down more than 100 campuses in 38 states. The announcement, displacing an estimated 40,000 students, follows last month’s decision by the Education Department barring the school from enrolling new students using federal student aid and upping its surety requirements. The department said it was acting to protect students and taxpayers, noting the school had been threatened with a loss of accreditation and that it was facing a number of ongoing investigations by both state and federal authorities.

What is so troubling about the department’s aggressive move — which experts presciently called a death sentence — is that not a single allegation of wrongdoing has been proven against the school. Maybe the government is right about ITT’s weaknesses, but its unilateral action without any semblance of due process is simply wrong. “Inappropriate and unconstitutional,” said ITT officials.

Such unfairness sadly is a hallmark of the Obama administration policy toward higher education’s for-profit sector. It has singled out the industry for stringent employment and student loan rules and stepped up enforcement with stiff sanctions that, as The Post’s Danielle Douglas-Gabriel reported, have some companies on the brink of ruin.

There is no question that there are shady for-profit colleges and universities that take advantage of students by saddling them with debt and failing to give them marketable skills. They should not be in business. But then the same can be said for some public and private schools, whose wretched weaknesses the government seems glad to overlook.

There should be a level playing field that recognizes the place — and value — of for-profit colleges and universities. Not only do they serve the vocational and educational needs of nontraditional students (older, poorer or minorities) that nonprofit institutions are unable or unwilling to serve, but also they have been a source of innovation in higher education. The government should be looking for ways to strengthen the industry, rather than trying to destroy it.
Direct link to article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/shutting-down-for-profit-schools-could-hurt-more-people-than-it-would-help/2016/09/10/3f6cb5ba-76b2-11e6-b786-19d0cb1ed06c_story.html?utm_term=.09f9af950180

New Release: ITT Educational Services, Inc. to Cease Operations at all ITT Technical Institutes Following Federal Actions

Sep 6, 2016

CARMEL, Ind., Sept. 6, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, ITT Educational Services, Inc. released the following statement:

"It is with profound regret that we must report that ITT Educational Services, Inc. will discontinue academic operations at all of its ITT Technical Institutes permanently after approximately 50 years of continuous service. With what we believe is a complete disregard by the U.S. Department of Education for due process to the company, hundreds of thousands of current students and alumni and more than 8,000 employees will be negatively affected.

The actions of and sanctions from the U.S. Department of Education have forced us to cease operations of the ITT Technical Institutes, and we will not be offering our September quarter. We reached this decision only after having exhausted the exploration of alternatives, including transfer of the schools to a non-profit or public institution.

Effective today, the company has eliminated the positions of the overwhelming majority of our more than 8,000 employees. Our focus and priority with our remaining staff is on helping the tens of thousands of unexpectedly displaced students with their records and future educational options.

This action of our federal regulator to increase our surety requirement to 40 percent of our Title IV federal funding and place our schools under "Heightened Cash Monitoring Level 2," forced us to conclude that we can no longer continue to operate our ITT Tech campuses and provide our students with the quality education they expect and deserve. 

For more than half a century, ITT Tech has helped hundreds of thousands of non-traditional and underserved students improve their lives through career-focused technical education. Thousands of employers have relied on our institutions for skilled workers in high-demand fields. We have been a mainstay in more than 130 communities that we served nationwide, as well as an engine of economic activity and a positive innovator in the higher-education sector.

This federal action will also disrupt the lives of thousands of hardworking ITT Tech employees and their families. More than 8,000 ITT Tech employees are now without a job – employees who exhibited the utmost dedication in serving our students. 

We have always carefully managed expenses to align with our enrollments. We had no intention prior to the receipt of the most recent sanctions of closing down despite the challenging regulatory environment that now threatens all proprietary higher education. We have also always worked tirelessly to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations, and to uphold our ethic of continuous improvement. When we have received inquiries from regulators, we have always been responsive and cooperative. Despite our ongoing service to this nation's employers, local communities and underserved students, these federal actions will result in the closure of the ITT Technical Institutes without any opportunity to pursue our right to due process.

These unwarranted actions, taken without proving a single allegation, are a "lawless execution," as noted by a recent editorial in The Wall Street Journal. We were not provided with a hearing or an appeal. Alternatives that we strongly believe would have better served students, employees, and taxpayers were rejected. The damage done to our students and employees, as well as to our shareholders and the American taxpayers, is irrevocable.

We believe the government's action was inappropriate and unconstitutional, however, with the ITT Technical Institutes ceasing operations, it will now likely rest on other parties to understand these reprehensible actions and to take action to attempt to prevent this from happening again."

SOURCE ITT Educational Services, Inc.

For further information: Nicole Elam, ITT Educational Services, Inc., 13000 N. Meridian St., Carmel, Ind. 46032, 317-706-9200