CECU Press Release: Career Education Colleges and Universities Commits to Producing 5 Million Skilled Professionals

​November 18, 2016 - Dallas - Career Education Colleges and Universities (CECU) announced this morning the Campaign to Create 5 Million Career Professionals in the decade ahead. Using research that connects the academic programs of postsecondary institutions in our sector to related occupations, and calculating projections using state-specific data on occupational growth demands and replacement needs, the sector has outlined its role in America’s economic and social future. 
“The importance of this research is that, for the first time, we are connecting academic and occupational data from the government with local projections to provide policymakers and employers a clear outline of job skill demand in their community and state,” said Steve Gunderson, president of the association. “We have combined this data nationally in ways that emphasize the incredibly important role this sector provides in meeting our nation’s skill demands.”

Independent research conducted by Dr. Wallace Pond and Ian N. Creager developed the protocols leading to this important set of data. The analysis, based upon a sophisticated, program-level, 50-state “cross-walk” of the Department of Education’s IPEDS education data and Bureau of Labor Statistics labor projections, suggests career colleges could produce nearly 8.5 million professionals in critical fields over the next decade.

The research shows that over the next decade, private sector schools will produce:
•    90% of professional divers,
•    83% of cosmetologists,
•    78% of vocational nursing and nursing assistants,
•    64% of dental assistants and
•    55% of heating, ventilation and A/C (HVAC) engineering technicians.

In all, the research shows that in over 200 occupations, private sector schools produce between 25-100% of the academic credentials in a given occupation area.

The data also shows that in certain states, the work of these schools in meeting their state’s economic needs is essential. For example, these schools could produce 1.3 million professionals in California; just over 1 million in Arizona; 589,000 in Florida; 496,000 in Texas and over 400,000 in New York State.

Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX-32), honorary co-chair of the kick-off event, commended the study as key to building America’s economic future. “This research shows that we must take an active role in creating more opportunities in the marketplace and encouraging Americans to reenter the job market. I am pleased that Texas is leading the way on this initiative and stressing the importance of the role that higher education institutions play in creating an effective skilled workforce.”

Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28), fellow honorary co-chair, recognized the campaign’s pledge to a skilled workforce. “In today’s 21st century economy, it is important that postsecondary education includes a career focus and prepares our students to be a successful part of the workforce. I applaud the campaign’s commitment of nearly half a million credentials in Texas to meet the demand for skills-based jobs.”  

At a time of educational focus on outcomes, the study lifts up the important achievements of this sector of higher education. Wallace Pond, the director of the study said, “In all higher education career programs, the private sector institutions represent 11% of all students, but 14% of all graduates. It is this sector’s focus on retention and completion rates that shows such positive results.”

Dalphna Curtis, a career institution CEO in Dallas and leader with Women Voters Alliance and Black Vote Advisors, said, “Nearly one in four Texas students in our sector identify as black or African-American. Another 42% identify as Hispanic. Our communities of color need full access to all sectors of postsecondary education to meet labor force growth and replacement demands. This is not a sector conversation. This must become a national conversation. If we have any hope of rebuilding America’s middle class, this sector must play a role.”

Joining in the official announcement, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich called upon the new administration and the Congress to use the campaign and supporting study as an opportunity to work together in creating higher education policy. “It’s time to stop the ideological crusade against private sector schools and work together to give all citizens an opportunity for skills, jobs and wages,” said Gingrich. “This study makes clear America cannot succeed without the role these career schools play in giving all citizens the skills needed for real work with real pay.”

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