Very Gainful Employment

Here’s one rather novel way to deal with gainful employment, the new federal regulation that will cut proprietary schools off from federal financial aid if they present students with debt above 12 percent of their income and if their students have loan repayment rates below 35 percent. This is a problem for for-profit colleges, many of which derive the majority of their funding from federal financial aid. If their programs don’t adequately prepare their graduates for careers, the graduates can’t pay off their loans.

One for-profit education company is trying to make it a lot more attractive to hire its alumni. According to an article by Shan Li in the Los Angeles Times:

The University of Antelope Valley will pay employers up to $2,000 for each graduate they hire. There are catches: The offer is good only this month and graduates must be hired in the field in which he or she studied.

“A lot of companies and employers are on the fence about hiring someone new, and this could be the incentive they need to do it,” said Marco Johnson, a former firefighter and paramedic whose school, which began as the Antelope Valley Medical College, stemmed from the CPR courses he began teaching in 1997. Currently, there are about 850 students enrolled in the school, which also offers online programs.

Johnson’s company is trying to present this deal as some sort of community development project. The University of Antelope Valley calls the exchange the “Smart Hire” program and explains that it’s “an economic stimulus initiative designed to jump-start the local economy through the creation of jobs for UAV graduates. The Smart Hire program offers employers up to $2,000 in reimbursement for a UAV graduate’s first month’s salary.”

That’s an interesting way to put it. “$2,000 in reimbursement means” the company is paying other companies to hire their graduates. That’s an easy way around the problem of students not being able to pay back their loans (the University of Antelope Valley costs a little more than $11,000 a year).

In addition to the payment, the institution will also “streamline” the hiring process. UAV explains that it will take care of “all of the pre-screening work, allowing the employer to save time, money and effort while finding the right candidate for their business.” Well, provided the right candidate is a graduate of University of Antelope Valley.

“This streamlined hiring process alone is a great enough incentive for any business to consider UAV graduates for employment,” said Lancaster Mayor Rex Parris. Yes, but are UAV graduates really the best qualified people for any business in the area to hire?

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer