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2010 Career Day: an insider’s report on the day’s events in Washington D.C.

October 4, 2010

First and foremost, I want to sincerely thank Herzing University Chancellor and founder Henry Herzing, President Renee Herzing, and New Orleans Campus President Mark Aspiazu for affording me the opportunity to take part in this historic occasion.  Career Day 2010, a student rally which took place on September 29, 2010 at the US Capital Grounds (West Front Lawn), marked the first time in history that private sector colleges and universities (PSCUs) gathered together in Washington D.C.  I was humbled and honored to have accompanied the Herzing University delegation to this event.

What are PSCUs?

The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU) states:

Private sector colleges and universities are academic institutions with a professional or career emphasis.

What is the significance of PSCUs?

PSCUs do not receive direct aid from governments.  Rather, they are taxpaying entities whose operations are similar to those of typical small businesses (i.e., they operate at the local level, hire people who live and work in their campuses’ communities, and have committees that interact with local business leaders in order to develop academic/training programs that will meet the needs of their local business community).

How effective are PSCUs—particularly in Louisiana?

In a September 2009 Times-Picayune Editorial, Curt Eysink, executive director of the Louisiana Workforce Commission, cited job trends in a report to a commission charged with overhauling the state’s higher education system. He said Louisiana won’t have enough people with associate or technical degrees to meet expected demand between 2008 and 2016, falling short by more than 3,000. Over the same period of time, Louisiana will see 10,312 more residents graduate from college than jobs that demand that level of education.

His conclusion: The state needs to steer more people into community and technical colleges. “We’re producing a workforce that we cannot employ in Louisiana,” he told the commission.

Thus, PSCUs will play a critical role in the economic development and security of Louisiana’s future.  Additionally, PSCUs will play a leading role on how our state’s current higher education infrastructure evolves to meet the expanding needs of the business community.  In fact, by providing programs that graduate highly skilled technical workers who can hit the ground running with the skills Louisiana employers desperately need, PSCUs will empower Louisiana businesses to garner a competitive advantage in their target sector.

Why the need for the rally?

The Department of Education (ED) has proposed an administrative law change that could potentially eliminate many PSCU programs and as a result, force many PSCUs to close their doors.  In fact, according to the APSCU, industry experts predict that the Proposed Rule (“gainful employment”), if implemented, will cause hundreds of thousands of students in the short-term, and millions over the next decade, to lose access to career-focused education programs.

How will Louisiana’s elected officials respond?

The Herzing University New Orleans delegation (which I was a member of) met with Republican Sen. David Vitter, Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu, and Republican Rep. Steve Scalise to discuss ED’s proposed gainful employment rule change.

Sen. Vitter made it a point to be available in person for the meeting.  He and his staff were courteous, professional, and expressed genuine interest in our concerns.  In the end, Sen. Vitter expressed his concern for the potential negative effects that gainful employment may impose on PSCUs and assured our delegation that we have his full support.  Further, Sen. Vitter committed to writing a letter to Education Secretary Duncan expressing the concerns he and his constituents hold in regards to the gainful employment issue.  Please click here email Sen. Vitter and thank him for his support.

Sen. Landrieu was unable to attend the meeting, however, her staff was courteous, friendly, and professional.  Ms. Landrieu’s legislative assistant listened to our concerns and personal testimonies.  As a result, we hope that our presence, personal stories, and the sincere concerns that we expressed will empower Sen. Landrieu to support our position in the debate unfolding over ED’s proposed gainful employment rule change.  Please click here to email Sen. Landrieu and encourage her to support academic free choice.

Rep. Steve Scalise was unable to attend the meeting, however, his staff was very receptive to our delegation and shared our concerns for ED’s proposed gainful employment rule change.  Additionally, Rep. Scalise’s legislative assistant pledged their support for our efforts to ensure academic free choice.  Please click here to email Congressman Scalise and thank him for his support.

In conclusion, it was an honor and a privilege to attend Career Day 2010 with the Herzing University delegation.  On behalf of the Herzing family, I would like to personally thank everyone who had a hand in the planning and implementation of this historic event.  In addition, I would also like to offer a sincere thank you to Sen. Vitter, Sen. Landrieu, and Rep. Scalise for affording us the opportunity to voice our concerns in this matter.  I was particularly impressed by the fact that Sen. Vitter took the time out of his busy schedule to meet with us in person and am very appreciative of the effort that each of our elected officials’ staff put forth to make us feel welcome during our visit.

Important links:

·         Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (ASPCU):

·         Students for Academic Choice:

·         Career Day recap via youtube:

·         My eductation choice online petition (please sign)

·         Herzing University call to action:

by Brian Stoddard


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