WASHINGTON: National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) President Harry Alford testified Friday at a joint committee hearing on "The Gainful Employment Regulation: Limiting Job Growth and Student Choice." Alford voiced his opposition to the controversial ÂGainful EmploymentÂ rule which was formally introduced on June 2.
In his testimony Alford cited the detrimental effects that the ÂGainful EmploymentÂ rule will have on job growth, especially in the Black community where the unemployment figures currently hover at 16 percent overall, and at 45 percent among Black teenage males.
Alford also reiterated widespread charges of a corrupt and flawed rulemaking process. He pointed to secret backroom meetings between Wall Street short-sellers and Education Department officials and a biased GAO report was eventually redacted because of errors and false information.
ÂThe Gainful Employment Rule is a JOB KILLER,Â said Alford. ÂIt stifles opportunity for our most at-risk students, and threatens their ability to get the job training and skills they need. It should be a primary goal of the Federal government to foster as broad a range of educational opportunities as possible, especially for minorities, who are most at risk for drop-out and unemployment. Why then, when for-profit schools offer a viable path for so many minority students, would the Department of Education be selectively targeting these schools and threatening their very existence?Â
Alford urged both committees to conduct follow-up hearings to investigate Education Department officials under oath and query their involvement with Wall Street short-sellers throughout the rulemaking process.
He called upon Congress to reverse the rule through the Congressional Review Act and start the rulemaking process over again. A serious process would address the broad student debt crisis in America across all institutions of post-secondary education, rather than conduct a Âwitch huntÂ among a relatively small number of proprietary schools that educate a disproportionately large number of minority students.