The crux of economic recovery: A well-trained, educated work force

Recent polls show that the famous saying, “It’s the Economy stupid” has never been more correct. Our state and nation are rightly zeroed in on how we can best create and then provide jobs for our people.

As California’s economy moves forward and begins to recover from the effects of a nationwide recession, it is going to be critically important that it has a well-trained, educated and motivated workforce.  Private postsecondary education is a great option for students who want to expand their opportunities, improve their earning potential or change careers in this shifting economy.

California’s economy will not recover without a prepared and trained workforce, and because our public schools are impacted and losing budget dollars each day, private education is more important than ever.  Private postsecondary education prepares students to enter the workforce in critically important sectors such as health care, information technology, transportation, and many of specific kinds of occupational and academic education and training programs.

Last year, the California Association of Private Postsecondary Schools (CAPPS), supported the California Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009 (CPPEA) and thanks to its authors, Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, Assemblyman Roger Niello and co-author Stenator Gloria Negrete-McLeod, there is a newly established Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) at the Department of Consumer Affairs. As of January first of this year, schools offering private postsecondary education will be held accountable by the state and subject to strict education and consumer standards.

The new law requires almost all private postsecondary institutions in California be approved by the new Bureau. Those institutions covered under CPPEA must comply with numerous student protections including disclosure of critical information to prospective students such as educational program contents and costs, putting their school catalog on the school’s website, graduation and job placement rates, licensure examination information and pass rates.

California has more than 400,000 students enrolled in private postsecondary schools at any given time— about 280,000 of which are in non-degree or certificate programs. One of the many benefits of private postsecondary education is that most of our schools assist students with job placement upon program completion.. In contrast, public school graduates are often expected to self-generate their job search.  In one of the most competitive job markets in history, our students find our sector’s emphasis on placement and the resulting school-employer connections critical to their success.  

One of thousands of examples of student success in private postsecondary education is Adelard Banza Muyakana, an orphaned Congolese National who came to the United States through the State Department’s Diversity Visa Program. After completing a 15-month certification program at Empire College located in Santa Rosa, with president’s honors, he was offered a six-month contract by Kaiser Permanente that turned into a full-time, salaried position. Muyakana now lives in Rohnert Park and is working on obtaining his citizenship and participating in the democratic process.  

Many of our students are single mothers and fathers already working at full-time jobs and supporting their family. By enrolling in our programs these students are able to better their lives and receive high quality education while continuing to provide for their families. Private postsecondary education is often more flexible in its course offerings, allowing students to take a class at several times in the day, nights and weekends. These are options that many public schools, due to a number of reasons, simply cannot offer.

Because our schools are private and consumer-driven they are extremely responsive to the needs of our students and the business sector. Our schools are constantly restructuring their programs so that students can be educated to be competitive in the job market right now. We also have many returning students who are upgrading their skills and knowledge to stay current in their job, obtain a promotion or increase their educational status. As part of our commitment to lead in California’s economy recovery, CAPPS is looking forward to increasing our presence in the capitol, working to implement this new measure and encouraging even more students to enroll in one of our 2,000 institutions.

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