Practitioners in for-profit higher education administration tend to be off on the side, compared to how education in this country is viewed generally. Focused on growing companies and creating value for students, it's quite often that you get a good deal of skepticism about the role of for-profit education. That's because of the relative newness of the for-profit school in a hundreds of years tradition of socially-driven education.
These are some of the most interesting points that I have found in Tave's interview with me in New York City last week. I had come to his offices at 2 Penn Plaza to ask him about the future of education. His focus: structure and offering students what they need to survive in the marketplace.
What can a school do to prepare itself and its students for the future?
Schools should have think tanks that focus on what to offer students for the future.
What's going to be popular five or ten years from now? You have to have a certain part of your organization that just focuses on that. You have to have a think tank working on the green opportunities coming on down the line.
Tave points out that the Wind Energy Association just made an agreement with some career colleges to provide education support and job training. Taking a risk like that, without proven return, is a necessary risk and could help your organization in the long run.
You are jumping curves, but it shouldn't stop you from putting the infrastructure in place and constantly testing if that is going to be the case.
Taht constant testing, if accreditation limits didn't stand too much in the way, would enable a career college to do more than be competitive against traditional four-year institutions. In fact, that is not so much the point as it is to just be as flexible as the real marketplace. The marketplace is filled with people who are testing limits, creating new ideas, and immediately putting them out there in the market to test and to generate a return on investment.
The career college vertical is synonymous with that marketplace rigor. In the past, we have talked on this blog about the Ivory Tower mentality of education. Tave went a little further and said that he saw that kind of flexibility in place already, even though it needed to be tweaked and assisted to perform faster and more rigorously:
Our schools are very precise in what they train for, and the rate of return on what you invest in is measured every day. The way we have the ability to efficiently to bring new curriculum is that we have to be able to do the "here-and-now" when it occurs, and not have it in some committee for ten years, and then its all antiquated and isn't necessary for the actual job market that is out there. It's exciting to work in that type of environment.