Thursday, August 28, 2008

For-Profit Colleges Want to Hear More About Higher Ed

The Career College Association didn't need to hire a caterer for the reception it threw this week in Denver aimed at keeping higher education front and center in the minds (and stomachs) of delegates to the Democratic National Convention. That's one of the advantages of being an association with a nearby culinary college in your membership ranks.

Using the Art Institute of Colorado as its venue, the association feted a couple of hundred delegates and others with dishes prepared by students -- grilled skirt steak garnished with pesto, Gorgonzola cheese, and arugula, a chicken-and-penne pasta dish, and tiramisu for dessert -- while also entertaining them with demonstrations of the ice- and watermelon-sculpting skills and industrial-design techniques taught at the institute.

Harris Miller, president of the association, said he hoped the event's message would stick with the delegates long after the rich food had been digested. "Neither presidential campaign has spoken enough about higher education and the importance of career education to our economy," said Mr. Miller, in an telephone interview with Chronicle reporter Goldie Blumenstyk.

Mr. Miller said the political leaders needed to focus more on how education could help the country improve its economic competitiveness, but so far, he said, those debates have centered on other issues. "The people who hate immigrants and the people who hate trade are more vocal," he said. "It's kind of frustrating."

The association plans to hold a similar event at an Art Institutes International of Minnesota next week, during the Republican National Convention in St. Paul.

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