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Friday, January 28, 2011

Regulatory Low Hanging Fruit: Department of Education Rule Will Destroy Job Opportunities

SBE Council has applauded President Obama’s new strategy that intends to avoid “excessive, inconsistent and redundant regulations.” The President unveiled the initiative last week, and he highlighted the effort in his State of the Union speech on Tuesday evening.

Small business owners truly hope this new strategy is applied across the board – at HHS, the Department of Labor, IRS, OSHA and the Department of Education -- the last of which has unfairly targeted for-profit colleges with regulations that will hurt U.S. competitiveness and the readiness of our workforce.

Career colleges have played a crucial role in preparing young Americans for the workforce, especially for those individuals considered “at risk.” During this tough economic period, our policy makers need to focus on giving young adults every opportunity to attain relevant skills that lead to successful employment.

Unfortunately, the intrusive and unwarranted regulations being pushed by the Department of Education will make it more difficult for those in need to obtain financial aid to attend for-profit programs.

Imposing arbitrary regulations on career colleges will not only hurt those who depend on these entities for skills training, it will also hurt small businesses that need skilled workers in order to compete. Small business owners are the greatest beneficiaries of the newly skilled individuals who graduate from career colleges, and more are needed in the U.S. labor pool.

The president wants to increase U.S. competitiveness and the number of college graduates by 2020. However, the Department of Education needs to stop undermining this goal through its misguided regulation. Students deserve the choice to attend schools that will give them an opportunity to succeed in the workforce. Businesses need the skilled individuals that graduate from these colleges.

President Obama says he wants to get rid of those regulations that impose unnecessary burdens on the economy, and those -- in his words -- that are just plain “stupid.” He can start with this Department of Education rule. It makes no sense, and undermines every goal he has set for our nation.

Karen Kerrigan, President & CEO

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