By Albert C. Gray, Ph.D., Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools
ACICS has been in the quality assurance business nearly as long, or longer, than the regional accrediting agencies that assure the quality of major research universities. As a national accrediting agency, ACICS is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) for accreditation of professional, technical and occupational career education programs. Specifically, the recognition gives ACICS the authority to require institutions to track and report the rates at which students continue in programs of study, and the rates at which they are placed in related fields of employment, even in difficult economic conditions. These tools provide an important mechanism for the protection of federal student financial aid and the protection of the interests of students.
Accredited career education is growing organically as unemployed Americans get ready to go back to work when the economy recovers. National accreditors like ACICS play an important role in ensuring the quality of that education, workforce training and skill acquisition. Policymakers at state and federal levels are encouraged to harness that resource and apply it to their economic recovery strategies within their local communities.