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Compare Nonprofit, For-Profit Online Degree Programs

While there’s still a stigma against for-profits, the quality of education varies widely within the sector, experts say.

To some students, a for-profit online degree program seems like a risky option.

“I’ve seen a lot of reports for a lot of years about how for-profit schools have pretty much based their incomes on the ability for students to get federal financial aid,” says 30-year-old Matt Warner, a cybersecurity and information assurance master’s student at the nonprofit, online Western Governors University.

Though he’s personally hesitant about for-profits, he suggests prospective students focus more on factors such as cost and the degrees offered.

For California resident Carlos Ramirez, enrolling in an online doctoral program in health administration at the for-profit University of Phoenix was a no-brainer. Ramirez previously earned his bachelor’s and master’s at the school and was satisfied with its flexibility and student support.

Experts say in online education, a school’s classification as a for-profit versus nonprofit tells prospective online students little about overall quality.


“I think it’s less about the sector and more on how attentive the institution is to meeting the needs of students, to understanding best practices, to preparing their faculty for this robust learning experience,” says Karen Pedersen, chief knowledge officer for the Online Learning Consortium, an organization aiming to improve online higher education.

For-profit institutions have faced criticism in recent years for questionable recruitment practices, low graduation rates and high student debt. Though employers today are becoming more receptive to accepting candidates with for-profit, online degrees, there’s still a stigma around them, experts say.

[Discover how employers view for-profit online bachelor’s degrees.]

“It’s a distinction that has gotten a lot of press over the last many years, and I’m not sure that it’s warranted,” says Betty Vandenbosch, president of the for-profit Kaplan University, which delivers many degrees online.

When for-profit online degree programs started becoming more prevalent around 1999, they accepted almost anybody who applied, including those who weren’t sufficiently prepared for college, says Kathleen Ives, OLC’s CEO and executive director, who has served as faculty for both for-profits and nonprofits. That, she says, contributed to low graduation rates and high debt for those who dropped out.

That initial focus primarily on corporate profits “has tainted much of the for-profit sector. And not fairly, because the for-profit institutions are just as diverse as the nonprofit institutions,” says David Schejbal, dean of continuing education, outreach and e-learning at the University of Wisconsin—Extension, which coordinates continuing education and online programs across 26 statewide campuses.

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posted in: Blogging, California, Diversity, EmployerNews, Florida, Georgia, Graduation, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, New York, News, North Carolina, Personal, Wisconsin

5 tips for recent grads looking for work

Christopher Grandy knows how maddening the job hunt can be for a recent graduate.

“I’m a little less sane right now,” says Grandy, who has been searching every day for four months. “It gets really depressing. I don’t even want to look at a resumé for days — but I know I have to.”

Grandy finished his business administration degree at Cape Breton University in April. Bolstered with a diploma in marketing from Newfoundland’s College of the North Atlantic, he set out with high hopes to try to find a job.

Months later, he’s much less optimistic. “I’m always wondering in the back of my head if my resumés are even getting read,” he says.

Grandy’s story isn’t an unfamiliar one. Hordes of young people are about to head into their first September without school — but without a steady job, too.

According to the latest data from Statistics Canada, the unemployment rate for people age 15 to 24 is 14.8 per cent, more than double the 7.3 per cent for the nation as a whole.

But management and human resource experts say there’s hope — and gave these five tips to help grads find work this September.

1. Don’t get discouraged

Even if you’ve been applying for months, it’s important not to get down on yourself, says Hugh Gunz, a professor of organizational behaviour at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.

“It’s terribly easy to get distressed and discouraged by the whole thing,” Gunz said.

“We’ve been in a substantial downturn since 2008,” he said. “There just aren’t the jobs around and rejection is tough.”

But there’s no better time to start searching in earnest than right now, says Jennifer McCleary, the director of the Centre for Business Career Development at McMaster’s DeGroote School of Business in Hamilton, Ont.

“It’s never too late to start looking for a job, whether you graduated in April or are graduating next April,” McCleary said.

“It’s all about a state of mind, how well you want to prepare and how motivated you are to stay focused on the process.”

Though youth employment numbers have been gloomy, McCleary says the market is starting to pick up — especially for new grads.

“Employers are always looking for engaged, eager new hires,” she said.

2. Job seeking is a full-time job

According to experts, new graduates already have a full-time job — it’s job hunting.

“Get up in the morning and have a routine,” advises Blair McMurchy, the director of continuing education, placement and promotion at Humber College’s School of Media Studies and Information Technology in Toronto.

“Get up at six as if you’re going to work and start looking — because looking for a job is a full-time job.”

Though it might be easy to slide into a half-hearted routine, McMurchy says avoid that at all costs. “Don’t get up at 10 and stop at two. Put in your eight hours and stay in the rhythm.”

Then there are resumés. McMurchy says students will often send out four or five a week — a pittance compared to the 20 or so they should be sending.

  ‘Get up at six as if you’re going to work and start looking — because looking for a job is a full-time job.’
  — Blair McMurchy, Humber College’s School of Media Studies and Information Technology in Toronto

And forget copy and pasting. Each job requires a resumé and cover letter that is individually tailored to each position, he says.

3. Pound that pavement

While sending out applications is important, McMurchy also says that graduates have to be even more proactive.

“Students have to get out and pound the pavement,” he says. “Sixty-five per cent of jobs out there are never advertised.”

Gunz agrees, adding students have to push beyond faceless job applications. “It’s a numbers game,” he feels. “For every one job advertised there are hundreds of applicants, so you have to get creative.”

Students have to find people in the industry they want to break into and make some calls, he says.

“Find out more about what they do and make yourself known,” Gunz said. “Often people are very happy to talk to you if they think you’re interested in their occupation.”

McCleary says the students she sees that are most successful are those that are willing to step outside their comfort zone and ask for information from people in the industry.

“The more people they know, the better off they’ll be,” she says. “By asking for help and advice, students are demonstrating they’re curious and can present themselves professionally. That can generate interest from individuals who want to introduce you to someone who is hiring, even if they aren’t.”

4. Follow up

An interview that doesn’t result in a job is still an opportunity, says McMurchy.

“Students need to follow up,” he said. “Call the employer and politely ask what it is you were lacking — so that if you upgraded your skills, you’d be the person they hire next time.”

“Employers like to see someone that doesn’t give up, as long as you’re professional and courteous.”

That kind of call can be daunting for many new graduates. But you need to make it, McMurchy says. “Be the graduate that keeps falling down, but learns from his mistake every time. Then you’ll be successful.”

5. Use all resources

Students pay thousands of dollars for an education, so they should try to squeeze every penny out of it — including using the resource centre after they’ve graduated, Gunz advises.

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posted in: Blogging, Florida, News

Job hunting? Nearly 6,000 positions up for grabs in Central Florida Read more: Job hunting? Nearly

Jason Duprat studied hard to get his bachelor’s degree in nursing while working part-time as a patient tech at Florida Hospital Orlando.


When the 27-year-old former restaurant manager graduated from the University of Central Florida in August 2009, he still found a number of job openings, despite one of the worst recessions in U.S. history.

Duprat turned down jobs in his home state of New York to take a job in the emergency room at Florida Hospital and do an intensive 16-week critical care training program.

“It was tough, but it was definitely worth it,” Duprat said of his career transition to nursing. “It’s challenging because there’s always more to learn — and it‘s definitely rewarding.” Duprat already had a bachelor’s degree in hotel and retail management from Rochester Institute of Technology and had worked as a restaurant manager, but wanted a job with more regular hours and benefits.

Duprat is one of the lucky ones, as Central Florida’s unemployment rate was 11.4 percent in June, creeping up from May’s 11.1 percent and 10.9 percent unemployed in June 2009, according to Workforce Central Florida.

But some sectors — like health care — are still hiring. In fact, an informal survey by Orlando Business Journal found there are nearly 6,000 unfilled jobs in a variety of industries in Central Florida.

Among the Central Florida companies hiring: Convergys Corp., Sprint, Fidelity Information Services Inc. and several new hotels. In addition, Legoland, which is opening in fall 2011, also will add about 1,000 jobs within 12 months.

Not surprisingly, industries among the fastest-growing several years ago still are struggling to add workers. For instance, construction — the industry hardest hit — was down by 28,000 jobs from June 2009 to June 2010. Other industries shedding jobs included finance, manufacturing, telecommunications, publishing, and leisure and hospitality, according to the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation.

Meanwhile, the top industries gaining jobs from June 2009 to June 2010 included education and health services, which gained 29,600 jobs, and government, which added 19,800 jobs, according to the Agency for Workforce Innovation. Other growth areas included professional and business services, wholesale and retail trade, transportation, and utilities and other services.

Even with the increased jobs in some sectors, Workforce Central Florida President Gary Earl still predicts a slow recovery in the Sunshine State. He said Central Florida likely won’t see a 6 percent unemployment rate again until 2015 or 2018.

“We’re not seeing anything new and different yet,” Earl said. “We hit the bottom, but haven’t started climbing up the cliff yet.”

Orlando has lost more than 100,000 jobs during the recession, about 10 percent of its total, said Rollins College economist Bill Seyfried. Construction saw a 50 percent decline, or about 45,000 jobs lost. Trade, transportation and public utilities shed 30,000 jobs, professional and business services saw a loss of 20,000 jobs, and leisure and hospitality also lost about 10,000 jobs. The two sectors least affected were education and health services — which went from adding about 4,000 to 5,000 jobs a year to adding 1,000 to 2,000 per year — and government, which had been adding 3,000 to 4,000 annually and is now flat.

However, he said, “Overall, it appears that the local job market is stabilizing and experiencing a slight improvement.”

Even so, competition for positions remains fierce. Orlando was ranked 41st in July among the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan areas for the number of job seekers for each available position, said, a job-listings website. It found four would-be workers for every opening, compared with six workers for every one job opening in August 2009.

Meanwhile, jobs in midlevel administrative positions seem to be bouncing back, said Nicole McMurray, branch manager for AppleOne Employment Services/Act1 Group in Altamonte Springs.

“I think Orlando is starting to get that breath of life again,” McMurray said.

AppleOne Employment Services/Act1 Group has seen a 259 percent increase in direct hiring in the first six months of 2010 compared to 2009, meaning companies are paying the firm to find a worker, which they hire permanently. About half of those jobs were midlevel administrative positions.

Additionally, McMurray said her business saw a 57 percent increase in the hiring of contract workers, indicating companies need help, but are still cautious about hiring permanently.

“Companies are just trying to dip their toes in the water,” she said. “But it is still a positive sign, because it means the work is out there.”

Read more: Job hunting? Nearly 6,000 positions up for grabs in Central Florida - Orlando Business JournalRead Full Article

posted in: Blogging, EmployerNews, Florida, News

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