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Author Topic: Do Culinary Schools Actually Get Chefs Jobs?  (Read 5041 times)
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« Topic Start: March 18, 2011, 12:06:09 pm »

Do Culinary Schools Actually Get Chefs Jobs?

Federal regulators are threatening to crack down on for-profit schools that are eager to take students' cash, but aren't necessarily coming through with lucrative paying gigs upon graduation. Those for-profit schools include a number of culinary schools around the country that are increasingly taking the heat. Several are embroiled in actual lawsuits.

http://www.slashfood.com/2011/03/17/do-culinary-schools-get-chefs-jobs/
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« Reply #1: March 18, 2011, 12:16:38 pm »

Do Culinary Schools Actually Get Chefs Jobs?

Federal regulators are threatening to crack down on for-profit schools that are eager to take students' cash, but aren't necessarily coming through with lucrative paying gigs upon graduation. Those for-profit schools include a number of culinary schools around the country that are increasingly taking the heat. Several are embroiled in actual lawsuits.

http://www.slashfood.com/2011/03/17/do-culinary-schools-get-chefs-jobs/


Ah yes, lets close for-profit schools and HBCUs.

I think there is a lot missing here. 

1 - Will they apply the same rules to for-profit school and other non-profit schools?  If so, expect to see a bunch of Historically Black Colleges and Universitys face the same lack of students able to get loans. What about a lot of other schools that charge $25 to $50 a year for 4 years?

2 - How much of this is currrent economy vs the boom a few years ago? 

3 - Are culinary schools especially a problem, or is it all for profit schools?

4 - How do not for profit culinary schools do at job placement and wages upon graduation?
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« Reply #2: March 18, 2011, 12:26:53 pm »

Do Culinary Schools Actually Get Chefs Jobs?

Federal regulators are threatening to crack down on for-profit schools that are eager to take students' cash, but aren't necessarily coming through with lucrative paying gigs upon graduation. Those for-profit schools include a number of culinary schools around the country that are increasingly taking the heat. Several are embroiled in actual lawsuits.

http://www.slashfood.com/2011/03/17/do-culinary-schools-get-chefs-jobs/

Oh, Johnson & Wales, a not for profit school charges $23K to $30K per year. That's copared to Western Culinary mentioned in the article at $25K to $35K. 
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« Reply #3: March 18, 2011, 01:22:54 pm »


Ah yes, lets close for-profit schools and HBCUs.

I think there is a lot missing here. 

1 - Will they apply the same rules to for-profit school and other non-profit schools?  If so, expect to see a bunch of Historically Black Colleges and Universitys face the same lack of students able to get loans. What about a lot of other schools that charge $25 to $50 a year for 4 years?

2 - How much of this is currrent economy vs the boom a few years ago? 

3 - Are culinary schools especially a problem, or is it all for profit schools?

4 - How do not for profit culinary schools do at job placement and wages upon graduation?

I think these are good points. Of course, considering the source (Slashfood), I wouldn't expect great investigative journalism, but I think it's a real good place to begin a discussion, and with a particular emphasis on numbers 3 and 4 on your list.
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« Reply #4: March 18, 2011, 03:43:28 pm »


Ah yes, lets close for-profit schools and HBCUs.

I think there is a lot missing here. 

1 - Will they apply the same rules to for-profit school and other non-profit schools?  If so, expect to see a bunch of Historically Black Colleges and Universitys face the same lack of students able to get loans. What about a lot of other schools that charge $25 to $50 a year for 4 years?

2 - How much of this is currrent economy vs the boom a few years ago? 

3 - Are culinary schools especially a problem, or is it all for profit schools?

4 - How do not for profit culinary schools do at job placement and wages upon graduation?

I've been following the for-profit stuff fairly closely, because it's one of the places that are hiring librarians at the moment (and I've gone a substantial part of the way through the interview process with one) and because I have friends who've worked for several (both ones that are generally seen as reputable, and ones like the University of Phoenix which are huge, but where there's a lot of conversation and contention about whether they're providing a meaningful education or results.)

The issues are several fold, but mostly boil down to high debt rates, high *default* rates on loans, and low completion rates for degrees. In other words, statistically speaking, most people  who begin one of the for-profit programs do not complete the degree they've committed a lot of money to, but still have to pay back a large amount in loans and/or end up in major financial difficulty trying to do so. Bear in mind that education loans are one of the few debts that are not included in bankruptcy, so people who have, say a major medical crisis would still have to pay them back even if they could clear their other debts. (And the for-profits, for various reasons, cater to a student audience that is more likely to be vulnerable to something like a major medical crisis, because they're working jobs with minimal or non-existent benefits, they're a single income family, etc.)

In addition, many of the for-profits do not have great reputations, so getting a degree from them does not necessarily improve job chances. (Some for-profits do have good reps, but they tend to be the smaller and regional ones that grew out of existing business skills courses, rather than the huge amalgamations that are getting more common.)

http://www.mindingthecampus.com/originals/2010/01/the_failure_of_forprofit_schoo.html has a decent layout of some of the issues with numbers that are consistent in what I've seen in other reports.

In general, the non-profit schools a) often do at least some of their financial aid via scholarships and grants (reducing the overall debt burden for people who qualify for aid) and b) have much greater completion and job-finding (so that you may spend a lot of money on the education, but there are meaningful results from it for almost everyone who attends. Note that a lot of the high-priced non-profit schools have substantial endowments and other funds that help them offer sometimes very good aid packages to people who qualify.)

Community colleges don't have great completion rates, but their costs are generally much much much lower for students (we're talking sometimes $200-300 a credit, for example, for $1000-2000 a given semester, rather than five to ten times that, if someone is doing 2 courses, a pretty typical part-time load) So, if someone drops out, or needs to take a break, it's not as big a financial burden to pay back. Likewise, the HBCUs mostly have pretty solid completion rates, and a lot of networking support to help with jobs, as I understand it, though I haven't looked at those specific numbers recently.

There's also an argument that community colleges do a better job of providing a wider education: a lot of the for-profit programs are very structured with few chances for learning outside the proscribed sequence, which also means that graduates don't have a lot of ways to stand out against their peers from the same school in the job market, other than any relevant prior experience or volunteering in the field they might have somehow managed.

And finally, as someone who has applied for jobs in them - I have to admit, I'm a tad worried about anything that's doing as rapid an expansion as the for-profits have been. We're talking schools opening a new branch building every 3-6 months, including a substantial investment in office space, furnishings, computers, library materials, etc. My understanding of economics tells me that that cycle can't continue forever (even without federal changes in requirements or available loan money), and what happens when it stops?
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« Reply #5: March 18, 2011, 03:49:46 pm »


And one more link:

http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2011/01/11/pm-forprofit-schools-are-struggling/

This points out one of the changes with the new regulation: previously, recruiters were often paid a commission per person (which does tend to encourage registering people who may well not succeeed). The new requirements remove that as an option, which is probably a better thing for students.
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« Reply #6: March 18, 2011, 03:51:43 pm »

2 - How much of this is currrent economy vs the boom a few years ago?   

I'm thinking that this might be a big part of it.  Right now I can't graduate because I can't find anyone willing to take me on as an intern let alone find an actual paying job in a restaurant.
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« Reply #7: March 18, 2011, 04:55:29 pm »

(snip)
The issues are several fold, but mostly boil down to high debt rates, high *default* rates on loans, and low completion rates for degrees. In other words, statistically speaking, most people  who begin one of the for-profit programs do not complete the degree they've committed a lot of money to, but still have to pay back a large amount in loans and/or end up in major financial difficulty trying to do so. Bear in mind that education loans are one of the few debts that are not included in bankruptcy, so people who have, say a major medical crisis would still have to pay them back even if they could clear their other debts. (And the for-profits, for various reasons, cater to a student audience that is more likely to be vulnerable to something like a major medical crisis, because they're working jobs with minimal or non-existent benefits, they're a single income family, etc.)
(snip)
http://www.mindingthecampus.com/originals/2010/01/the_failure_of_forprofit_schoo.html has a decent layout of some of the issues with numbers that are consistent in what I've seen in other reports.

In general, the non-profit schools a) often do at least some of their financial aid via scholarships and grants (reducing the overall debt burden for people who qualify for aid) and b) have much greater completion and job-finding (so that you may spend a lot of money on the education, but there are meaningful results from it for almost everyone who attends. Note that a lot of the high-priced non-profit schools have substantial endowments and other funds that help them offer sometimes very good aid packages to people who qualify.)

Community colleges don't have great completion rates, but their costs are generally much much much lower for students (we're talking sometimes $200-300 a credit, for example, for $1000-2000 a given semester, rather than five to ten times that, if someone is doing 2 courses, a pretty typical part-time load) So, if someone drops out, or needs to take a break, it's not as big a financial burden to pay back. Likewise, the HBCUs mostly have pretty solid completion rates, and a lot of networking support to help with jobs, as I understand it, though I haven't looked at those specific numbers recently.

(snip)
And finally, as someone who has applied for jobs in them - I have to admit, I'm a tad worried about anything that's doing as rapid an expansion as the for-profits have been. We're talking schools opening a new branch building every 3-6 months, including a substantial investment in office space, furnishings, computers, library materials, etc. My understanding of economics tells me that that cycle can't continue forever (even without federal changes in requirements or available loan money), and what happens when it stops?

Great link.
I've been seeing info about this with regards to a "higher education bubble" for a year or two, mostly from Glenn Reynolds.

Easy money seems to be the Big issue for all schools.

Initial look seems to be the demographics of the folks going to for-profit and HBCUs are similar coupled with easy money leading to similar rates. Couple links that shed some light, and what some are doing to fix it:

http://www.educationsector.org/publications/lowering-student-loan-default-rates

http://diverseeducation.com/article/14759/

http://theloop21.com/money/are-hbcus-adding-black-americas-economic-crisis

Still leaves open wether this is especially bad at culinary schools vs all schools. Once you have numbers, you can make policy decisions on how to correct it. At first glance, letting student loan be discharged in some sort of bankruptcy seems simplest, but being 1st glance and simplest it's probably wrong.
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« Reply #8: March 18, 2011, 04:58:12 pm »

I'm thinking that this might be a big part of it.  Right now I can't graduate because I can't find anyone willing to take me on as an intern let alone find an actual paying job in a restaurant.

Do you need specific intern experiance or just paid cooking experiance?

Oh, btw I'll be in Hampton on Saturday for an SCA event.
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« Reply #9: March 18, 2011, 05:37:01 pm »



I think it probably varies by school.  My son went to DeVry - which I didn't have a very good opinion of until we looked into his degree.  At that time (he started in 2005) getting a degree in the programming for gaming (and simulations - apparently there's not much difference) was not something you could do just anywhere.  This was startling to me - but my degree is in Accounting which you can get just about anywhere.  I also didn't know DeVry did Bachelors and Masters degrees until we looked into it. 

So, my son has a degree from a for profit school - a Bachelors in Gaming and Simulation Programming - and had a full time job within 3 months of graduating (started working in the fall of 2008 - he went full time during the summers to finish fast) in his field.  Kinda hard for me to say they didn't do good by him.  BUT, he did have to show he could do it to get the job (apparently common in that industry), and even his sister who is more likely to criticize him says he's an "awesome coder - fast, clean, and precise", which is incredible praise from her.  So maybe he just got a job because he's good - I'm not the one to say since I don't understand what he does. Smiley

I'm not saying they shouldn't look into the schools, but I do think we shouldn't condemn them all because some are possible bad apples.  that said, my does say that a number of kids never made past the first year - or even the first semester.  But the situations he's describing seem to be more 'being out from under mommy and daddy's thumbs' than anything else.  And that is a problem with any college where the kids aren't living at home.
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« Reply #10: March 18, 2011, 06:05:26 pm »

Do you need specific intern experiance or just paid cooking experiance?

All I need is someone to sign a sheet of paper saying that I worked x amount of hours.  To tell the truth, I'm about to just drop culinary arts for something in the IT field because my sciatica acts up when I'm on my feet for to long.

Quote
Oh, btw I'll be in Hampton on Saturday for an SCA event.

Saturday as in tomorrow?  Can't because I have a family thing I have to do.
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« Reply #11: March 18, 2011, 06:15:33 pm »

So, my son has a degree from a for profit school - a Bachelors in Gaming and Simulation Programming - and had a full time job within 3 months of graduating (started working in the fall of 2008 - he went full time during the summers to finish fast) in his field.  Kinda hard for me to say they didn't do good by him.  BUT, he did have to show he could do it to get the job (apparently common in that industry), and even his sister who is more likely to criticize him says he's an "awesome coder - fast, clean, and precise", which is incredible praise from her.  So maybe he just got a job because he's good - I'm not the one to say since I don't understand what he does. Smiley

My understanding is that it's something that varies a lot by field. Somewhere where an applicant can say "Here's what I made and what I can do" (programming, web design, etc.) is a lot easier for an employer to trust, in some ways, than something that's harder to test without some consequences (nursing, say) or that's more general (business administration).

I've heard some pretty distressing stories (though I don't have links handy at the moment) about schools that, for example, have a nursing program, but where practicums and hands-on experience are very limited (even though they're typically a major part of non-profit training courses.) Education/early childhood education is another area where education without practical experience is complicated - and both are really hard to do internships/practicums in if someone is also working another full time job. Community colleges have some of the same issues, but because they've usually been in the community for a while, they can draw on some long-standing relationships to help figure things out that aren't accessible to a brand new branch of a larger for-profit school.

The friend who currently teaches at one (and has the most hands on experience) is in their general education division, so I've got less details from her on how it actually works in practice. (She teaches things like intercultural communication, introduction to psychology with a focus on group dynamics and development, things like that.)

I'm not saying they shouldn't look into the schools, but I do think we shouldn't condemn them all because some are possible bad apples.  that said, my does say that a number of kids never made past the first year - or even the first semester.  But the situations he's describing seem to be more 'being out from under mommy and daddy's thumbs' than anything else.  And that is a problem with any college where the kids aren't living at home.
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« Reply #12: March 18, 2011, 06:41:58 pm »

My understanding is that it's something that varies a lot by field. Somewhere where an applicant can say "Here's what I made and what I can do" (programming, web design, etc.) is a lot easier for an employer to trust, in some ways, than something that's harder to test without some consequences (nursing, say) or that's more general (business administration).


And, to be fair, the schools that DO teach gaming programming seem to all be involved with having the industry let them know WHAT to teach. 
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« Reply #13: March 19, 2011, 12:36:16 am »

I think it probably varies by school. 

I am currently taking online classes at University of Phoenix.  I plan to go to seminary school after getting a bachelors.  I had checked with three seminary's near me before enrolling, and they said they would accept the degree, from Phoenix.   
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« Reply #14: March 19, 2011, 08:17:18 am »

I'm not saying they shouldn't look into the schools, but I do think we shouldn't condemn them all because some are possible bad apples.  that said, my does say that a number of kids never made past the first year - or even the first semester.  But the situations he's describing seem to be more 'being out from under mommy and daddy's thumbs' than anything else.  And that is a problem with any college where the kids aren't living at home.

I think one thing that would help and not hurt good for-profit schools would be only allowing them to sign students to contracts and loans for a semester at a time. Some schools (and I suspect mainly the bad ones) apparently front load all the payments -- students have to pay for the entire program up front. This leaves the school with no reason to care if the student does well, learns anything, etc. as they already have all the money before the student even starts the course. Preventing such contracts and loans would probably not hurt actual schools but would quickly kill off the money mill schools.
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