Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Ontario’s Private-College Grads NOT finding jobs

ESL in Canada will be researching PCC's to find the few diamonds in the sea of underperforming Ontario schools - contributions are welcome from employers, grads and teachers.


Ontario’s private-college grads not finding jobs,
by Simona Chiose Education Reporter
The Globe and Mail Published

-Almost 40 per cent of the most highly rated private career colleges in Ontario appear to be failing to prepare students for the labour market, with a third of graduates at 58 out of 159

- The Globe’s analysis shows that the expensive fees are often a poor investment. Along with the high number of students who could not find any work, an even smaller number found jobs in the area they studied. Overall, less than half of employed students were working in their field of study. At some campuses of the CDI College, for example, only 34 per cent of grads had related employment.

- At public colleges, 80 per cent of grads say their work closely matches their education. And roughly 84 per cent of graduates in the public college sector also find work after they graduate. The relatively poor outcomes in the private college sector have led many to call for tighter control over the schools.
For excellent independent career consultants with options for career or public colleges go to:
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly compared the general employment rate of publicly funded community colleges to the employment rate for private career colleges graduates in their field of study. In fact, the general employment rate six months after graduation is 83.4 per cent for public community colleges versus 71.2 per cent for private career colleges. In addition, the article said private colleges charge fees between $10,000 and more than $20,000 a year. There are some full year courses which charge less. This version has been corrected.

Quality of education at Ontario’s private career colleges questioned Last updated Wednesday, Jul. 20, 2016 


Ontario Private Career Colleges: An Exploratory Analysis
Roger Pizarro Milian and Martin Hicks,
Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario

In terms of performance measures, Ontario publishes student loan repayment default rates for PCCs, which are higher (21%) than the default rates for public institutions (13% for colleges, 5% for universities). The province is just beginning to collect a list of performance metrics for PCCs comparable to those collected for public colleges: graduation rates, graduate employment rates, graduate and employer satisfaction.

Complaints about career colleges emerge
by: Alexandra Posadzki, The Canadian Press

The documents, obtained by The Canadian Press through a freedom of information request, outline 47 formal complaints made by students to Ontario’s Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities in 2010 and 2011.  There were complaints alleging incompetent, unprofessional teachers at Everest, Evergreen and the Canadian Business College.


Too Cool for School Too

The Ministry’s Private Career Colleges Branch has oversight of all registered private career colleges in Ontario and is also responsible for enforcement action against unregistered private career colleges. We received 15 complaints from private career college students and operators in 2013-2014 (down slightly from last year’s 19).

In a case similar to that featured in Too Cool for School Too, students in a heating, refrigeration and air conditioning program complained that the program was not certified by the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA), and without that certification, their job prospects would be limited upon graduation.

Ombudsman staff are reviewing the Ministry’s role in approving such programs and what steps it has taken to respond to the Ombudsman’s recommendations since his 2009 report. At that time, the Ombudsman said the Ministry had “abdicated” its responsibility to ensure college programs met its standards, and called its response to his report “disappointing.”


Private career colleges are under-regulated in Ontario

PCCs benefit from provincially funded job retraining programs and student loans as they receive indirect provincial funding through employment training programs and student loans. In 2012-2013, $231 million was distributed to 15,787 students in 167 private institutions. Considering the high Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) default loan rate for PCCs (amounting to 18.8 percent in 2013), the province's loans are becoming an indirect subsidy to these private businesses.

Complaints of a lack of proper equipment, inadequate instructors, and a failure to deliver the promised number of training hours are common among former and current students of PCCs.

The province, not private institutions, needs to provide educational programs that prepare students for the job market. The Institute strongly encourages the province to consider incorporating vocational training offered by PCCs into the public system, mainly via community colleges. This will ensure higher academic standards are set and that students rights’ are protected. The role of PCCs should be limited to providing hobby courses and short seminars.


Hard lessons: Newcomers and Ontario Private Colleges

A number of key informants complained that PCC standards of instruction, curriculum and facilities were poor in many instances and that placement or practicum opportunities appeared either non-existent or inadequate.

Newcomer students, with poor English skills are being are aggressively recruited and admitted into private colleges despite their language assessment results. The success of placements depends on many factors, including job readiness, soft skills and English language skills.

Some employers don’t recognize Private College diplomas as equivalent to Community College diplomas or report that graduates are not job ready.

Some interviewees mentioned that sometimes the employer does not recognize the name of the private college and so the quality of the certificate is unknown. Others reported having a bad experience with a private college graduate and may then generalize other students from the same college.

Some regulatory bodies don’t recognize the Private College diploma because it does not meet their standards, such as number of hours of instruction.

Most of the interviewees stated that their clients who attended community colleges have better employment outcomes than those who attended private colleges. For those programs that are offered by both community colleges and private colleges – the community college graduates were able to find jobs faster. One interviewee stated that none of her clients that attended a private college were able to secure employment.

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