Home Conference Updates Career Education Convention Stresses the Importance of Sector Unity
Career Education Convention Stresses the Importance of Sector Unity

Career Education Convention Stresses the Importance of Sector Unity


By Dr. Jason Altmire, President and CEO, Career Education Colleges and Universities (CECU)

In June, I attended my first Career Education Convention in my role as President and CEO of Career Education Colleges and Universities (CECU), the national association representing private career schools. Held at the Gaylord Texan Resort in Grapevine, Texas, the event represented a coming out party of sorts, not just for me as the new leader of CECU, but for the hundreds of sector leaders who were attending their first business gathering in more than a year. The camaraderie was evident and the mood was upbeat, despite the reality of the enormous political challenge we will face in the year ahead.

Jason AltmireIn my eight months at the helm of CECU, one thing has struck me above all else – the passion and commitment our school leaders have for the students they serve. I have talked to countless stakeholders and have had the opportunity to visit schools to see firsthand the amazing work our sector is doing every day to change the lives of people who might otherwise have no higher education options. Seeing everyone together at the convention in Dallas brought it all home and highlighted how important it is for us to fight the onslaught of legislative and regulatory attacks coming our way.

One of the most popular events of the conference was the keynote address by business author and motivational speaker Ty Bennett, who emphasized the importance of storytelling in winning over doubters and critics. This resonates because we all know that we have hundreds of thousands of stories waiting to be told – stories of single moms, veterans, people in a career transition, and first-in-family to seek a postsecondary education. The comment I heard most often during the convention was how important it is for us to tell those stories and convey to policymakers the life-changing impact our schools have on our students, as well as the benefit our graduates have to employers. With our recent changes in communications – including the acquisition of Career Education Review – and the dramatic upgrades in our digital capabilities, CECU is in better position than ever before to tell these stories on behalf of the sector.

Senator Joe ManchinAnother highlight of the conference was CECU’s Political Action Committee (PAC) breakfast with Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), widely recognized as the most influential member of Congress given the 50/50 partisan split in the Senate. I had the pleasure of serving with Senator Manchin during my time in Congress, so I was not surprised that he was so generous with his time and candid with his comments to the dozens of sector leaders who attended the breakfast. While our political challenge remains daunting, there is no doubt that we have a friend in Senator Joe Manchin.

Another sentiment I heard through the conference was the high quality of the breakout sessions, which covered topics across the spectrum of interest to our schools. We are lucky to have such a deep reservoir of talent throughout the sector, and CECU is grateful for the many sector leaders who took the time to volunteer and share their expertise with conference attendees.

Without a doubt, the plenary session that generated the most positive feedback was our panel discussion with Peter Cohen, President of the University of Phoenix, and Jerome Grant, CEO of Universal Technical Institute. The session was a candid discussion of the relationship between the different parts of our sector, and the sometimes tumultuous relationship we have had with one another. The Q&A generated a thoughtful and direct conversation about the future of the sector and our shared threats and challenges. In the end, all in attendance had a better understanding of the importance of unity and coming together as a sector to face the political fights ahead. Make no mistake – those who seek to divide the sector are strengthening the hand of our opponents.

Chris LambertThe conference was a huge success and feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Thanks to all those who attended. I’m certain other attendees were, like me, energized by the positive message and shared vision on display throughout the convention. It was great to be together and learn from one another. Most important is to recognize that the gathering would not be possible without the sponsors and exhibitors who lend their time, talent, and expertise to support our efforts. I want to thank each and every one of them for their support of CECU and our sector. We are better for their involvement and I encourage you to also thank them for their support.

While we are of course keeping a watchful eye on the unfortunate resurgence of COVID-19, we are looking forward to hosting our biggest and best convention yet next year in Las Vegas. Please mark your calendars for May 31 to June 2, 2022, as we are sure to have much to discuss and learn. It is not hyperbole to say that the next several months may be the most consequential in our sector’s history, so it will be more important than ever to come together in unity and support.

I look forward to visiting and speaking with you in the months ahead. As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to me or our incredible CECU and Career Education Review team if we can ever assist you in any way.

Jason Altmire

DR. JASON ALTMIRE is the President and Chief Executive Officer of CECU. He has been a senior executive for large companies in both the hospital and health insurance industries, and from 2007 to 2013, he served three terms in the United States House of Representatives. He authored the critically acclaimed book, “Dead Center: How Political Polarization Divided America and What We Can Do About It,” and he has been a frequent guest on national television news programs and an opinion contributor to a number of national print media outlets.

In Congress, he was a bipartisan centrist known for working with both sides of the aisle, which led to an extraordinary record of legislative success. He served as a subcommittee chairman, had 29 of his legislative initiatives signed into law, and introduced a bipartisan bill that gained the most cosponsors of any congressional bill in American history. During his time in office, the nonpartisan National Journal calculated Altmire’s voting record to be at the exact midpoint of the House, giving him the most centrist voting record in Congress.

Dr. Altmire is an adjunct professor of healthcare management at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. He co-chairs the advisory board of the Center for Effective Lawmaking at the University of Virginia, and serves on advisory boards for the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, the AmerisourceBergen Foundation, Unite America, and the Washington Political Film Foundation.

He earned his Doctorate in Business Administration from the University of Florida, a Master’s degree in Health Administration from George Washington University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Florida State University.

Contact Information: Dr. Jason Altmire // President and CEO // Career Education Colleges and Universities (CECU) // 571-970-3941 // president@career.org // https://www.career.org/



Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *