Discover the 165-year history of America’s career colleges!

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Publication Corner

by Kerry Turner

Believe it or not, some people out there have the idea that career colleges are a Johnny-come-lately to the field of higher education. Nothing could be further from the truth. Career schools, colleges and universities have been in the United States, thriving and growing for over 165 years.

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A new publication, In Service to America: Celebrating 165 Years of Career and Professional Education, released in June 2007 by the Imagine America Foundation and McGraw-Hill Companies Career College Division chronicles the history of a sector that has grown to occupy 39 percent of the postsecondary education sector.

If ever a contrast could be made as to how far these colleges have come, the first two chapters and the last two chapters of the publication present it best. Take a look at how it all began with apprenticeships and one-room schoolhouses – and then look at the career colleges and universities profiled in the last two chapters. State-of-the-art facilities, cutting-edge equipment, and highly skilled and qualified faculty and staff are commonplace. Sure, as you review this publication, you will undoubtedly see that the career college sector has had some hard knocks from its critics in the last few decades, but its growth and success continue to be immeasurable.

Many still ask, “Why do these colleges continue to thrive in America?” At the core of the career college sector is the same principle that has enabled it to survive for over 165 years – the professional success of the over 2 million students career colleges serve each year.

One interesting piece of information unearthed in the research of the sector’s history was the areas that career colleges have forayed into over the last century, such as career college sports teams, campus pageants and sororities/fraternities. And guess what – there are pictures to prove it! In Service to America contains over 200 photos contributed from the archives of career colleges nationwide and the Imagine America Foundation.

Find out for yourself – for more information contact Foundation staff member Kerry Turner at 202.336.6711 or