Quantcast

COMMENTARY: Gainful employment rule a disadvantage for black students

Harry C. Alford | 3/28/2014, 6:28 a.m.
Last week, the Obama Administration declared war on one million underserved students pursuing higher education throughout the United States. While ...

— Not only is the Department of Education proposing an unprecedented program that discriminates against certain types of schools, the Obama administration has not produced any plan to compensate for the loss of six million students who will be displaced and dejected before the decade is over. No regulation of this type and this complexity has ever been enacted in higher education. The collateral damage of this proposed rule is great and the risk to these communities and to our fragile economy is very real.

Another reality is the plight of ex-felons. Finding full time employment is a very difficult thing to accomplish when you have a record. The only professional

license an ex-offender can earn is that of a barber or beauty license. With this a person can find work or even become an

entrepreneur by way of owning his/her own establishment. It can be a lifetime of progress. But no, this rule will end any chance of that happening anymore.

As the United States continues its slow economic recovery, it’s critical that the public and private sectors collaborate closely to provide all individuals with the resources they need to get the education and training required to participate in our modern workforce. As we have seen time and again, aggressive, ambitious policies designed to improve social programs for the underserved should be applied fairly and pursued carefully after thorough due diligence.

The Obama administration’s current rule will immediately and unfairly target one million underserved, at-risk college students throughout the nation, and ultimately discriminates against the communities it proposes to serve. This will hurt employers, vulnerable students and our economy. If the president truly seeks to protect and expand low-income

access to college while addressing the issue of student debt, he needs to start by rethinking his misguided Gainful Employment crusade.

Harry C. Alford is the co-founder, president/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce: www.nationalbcc.org. To contact Harry C. Alford, email: halford@nationalbcc.org.