Just released this week by the Harvard Graduate School of Education is its Pathways to Prosperity. The report focuses on the need to supplement our traditional colleges with meaningful career education if we expect to substantially increase the competiveness of the labor force. Referencing the goal of the President for higher education participation and lamenting the forecasts for a drop in educational attainment in the U. S., the report stated, “Given these dismal attainment numbers, a narrowly defined ‘college for all’ goal—one that does not include a much stronger focus on career-oriented programs that lead to occupational credentials—seems doomed to fail.”
Access With Success has repeatedly pointed to the very critical role that career-oriented colleges play in our capacity to increase the quality of the labor force and global competitiveness of the U. S. Many career colleges, like Le Cordon Bleu Institute of Culinary Arts that recently announced its closure in Pittsburgh, play a very critical role in increasing the employability and quality of life of the community. The Department of Education’s imposition of unnecessary regulations has an especially significant and negative impact on at-risk students who are disproportionately African Americans and Hispanics. For-profit colleges enroll very substantial numbers of at-risk students, the very students for which college success was lamented by the Harvard report.
If we expect to address the challenges of the Harvard report, we will need to increase substantially the diversity of the avenues to education beyond high school. For-profit colleges and universities have the potential to play a very significant role in avoiding the “failure” that the Harvard report foresees.