“We do good things every day.” That was the message that Jeff Brown, the newly minted chairman of the CCST Board of Directors, delivered as he addressed attendees during last week’s Annual Business Meeting at the 2014 CCST Annual Conference. The point should be self-evident. This was a conference of educators after all and it’s an intrinsic part of their job to enrich the lives of their students. However, for career colleges and private sector schools, this same logic does not always apply. The important role that the many career colleges play in our education system is too often overshadowed in the media with negative press.
The role these institutions play in preparing students for viable careers, not jobs, and address the skills gap cannot be overstated. Talk to any attendee at last week’s conference and it’s clear they’re in the business of changing student’s lives and helping their communities. There was the college in West Texas that was looking for ways to attract more welding students to keep up with the local demand. There was the career college in El Paso that was so concerned with the high dropout rate in their city that they became a GED testing center, one of only two in the entire city, and are still looking for more ways to help increase the local graduation rate.
And then there were the two students from Le Cordon Bleu – Dallas, winners of the CCST Student and Graduate of the year respectively. Looking around the audience during these students’ speeches, many attendees displayed knowing smiles. They see these stories day in and day out on campuses across Texas and the nation and know that, despite what the media may say, they do good things every day. It’s time for everyone else to understand that.