July 19, 2017 | By Peter J. Taylor
America faces a significant skills gap. Nearly half of the nation’s 6 million job openings are for middle-skills jobs—those requiring more than a high school diploma, but less than a four-year degree. However, only 43 percent of workers have the necessary skills to fill these jobs. Closing this gap is necessary for the future of the American economy and has strong financial implications for American workers and their families.
A viable solution requires all stakeholders at the table–employers, industry leaders, unions, community representatives, postsecondary education institutions, among many others–to play their part. Unfortunately, when it comes to educational institutions stepping up, many aren’t doing their job: those that provide training for middle-skill careers–whether community colleges or for-profit schools–come up short in training non-traditional students.
Two years ago, ECMC Group was presented with the opportunity to be a game-changer in this space. We acquired a number of campuses under Corinthian Colleges, Inc. and from the start, we had the bold and ambitious goal of transforming career technical education, with student success as our first and most important priority.
ECMC Group created Zenith Education Group to lead this work. Zenith is bridging the gap by offering an affordable, quality, student-centered experience that provides training for jobs in high-growth industries. In the past two years, we have transformed our organization’s curriculum offerings, career placement services, and student support to create a “third pathway” in education, which enables students to succeed in the classroom and on the job.
As a result of these widespread changes, our nonprofit offering is altogether different than it was at the time we acquired these campuses. We have therefore made the decision to change the name of our Everest campuses to Altierus Career Colleges.
I am incredibly proud of the transformation that Altierus embodies, and I credit our campus leaders, career and student services professionals with affecting change at each of our locations. I also thank our many community and employer partners whose input has been influential in setting our course and ensuring student success.
The name Altierus is inspired by our mission to provide a new, alternative pathway for non-traditional students for whom existing institutions have not worked. We do so by offering a best-in-class student experience in which all of us – faculty, career specialists, financial aid experts, counselors, administrative staff – serve to care for the “whole student.”
In the days ahead, I will share a closer look at each of the initiatives behind this change, from establishing a more holistic approach to enrolling students, to enhancing curriculum, focusing on quality outcomes, and career guidance and soft skills development requested by employers.
As we embark upon this next chapter, we look forward to living up to this aspirational name and to continuing our steadfast commitment to student success.