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Private Sector Education and the People They Serve

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Mitch Talenfeld

“The last several weeks have been torture, going from doctor’s office to doctor’s office, to hospitals and to laboratories, all in an effort to figure out why I felt so cruddy.”

That was how a very good friend of mine started his story. A story that reinforced the reason I stand resolute in my stance about servicing the private sector of education and not watering down our business-focus to work with other verticals. The fact is—and remains—private post-secondary schools, colleges, and universities—for-profit and not-for-profit—are key to the survival of this country!  And while I could talk about the many programs offered by the sector, which provide a great economic impact on this country, it is clear through my friend’s story that there are none more important than the programs offered and the people they train in healthcare. And what is sad is they are being vilified by the media, which is having a devastating impact with many unintended consequences.

It is staggering when you think about the impact this sector has had in the ongoing functioning of the country’s medical offices. In every doctor’s office there are at least two and most of the time three or four or even five people that are part of every patient’s appointment who are not the doctor. Without that support staff in place, doctors would barely have time to see patients. They would be spending most of their time checking in patients, collecting information, taking basic vital signs, performing x-rays… the list goes on and on.  When you start asking the people that are in these jobs where they went to school to get the training they needed to become a Medical Assistant, X-ray Technician, Medical Billing Specialist, again this list could go on and on, the vast majority of them will proudly name a private, post-secondary school.

Something that never occurred to me and really got me really upset!

Getting back to my friend’s story, I was told about an x-ray technician, who, when asked about her education, named a for-profit institution in the area. She then continued speaking, sadly telling how, in the news lately, she’s heard very negative stories about her school and others like it. She said she understood some people did have a real negative experience, but emphatically stated that could happen at any school. She went on to say when she was in college, she’d seen others who didn’t want to study or do the necessary work, fail, then proceed to blame the school. That got her angry—asking why she and others were being saddled with people’s efforts to tear things down. From there, she proudly spoke about how hard she worked, how proud she was of herself for finishing the degree, how much she liked the career she is now in and how she couldn’t have done it without the school.

There’s been so much negative publicity recently focused on this sector, highlighting individuals that, for one reason or another, have had a bad experience with a private sector college.  Has anyone taken the time to truly stop and think about the lifeblood this sector has provided to our nation’s healthcare system? Does anyone understand the impact that these irresponsible attacks are having on these graduates and the value of their hard-earned degrees? Maybe it’s time to start!

My friend told me this story because he finally saw first-hand why we are so passionate about what we do for a sector. It is just sad that politics and money are clouding the real issue—that government schools have a problem and need to be fixed.

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