Officials from Education Management Corp (EDMC) participated in a webcast this morning as part of the “Back to School Education Conference” sponsored by Investment Banking firm BMO Capital Markets.
Despite its title, the conference has little to do actual education and more to do with the business of selling education. Most of the presenters were officials from for=profit education companies, including EDMC. Readers of this spot know that the Pittsburgh-based company is the second-largest provider of for-profit education in the country and owns schools including the Art Institutes nationwide.
There was little new information brought out at the webcast and there were no questions regarding the massive layoffs that have gone on at the company since January including 800 faculty and staff members at Art Institutes nationwide. The most interesting quote, however, came from current board chairman Todd Nelson about how the types of students sought out by the institutions.
Nelson said the company is “focusing on students who are most adequately prepared … and likely to achieve their education goals.”
This comment would come as a surprise to many former employees and students who have claimed, for example that the schools are willing to accept anyone with a “pulse and a pell”
When Education Management Corp. laid off 800 employees last week at Art Institute’s nationwide, students said they weren’t going to remain quiet.
A student from Fort Lauderdale revived an online petition and promised there would be protests. Many other petitions on the website change.org also popped up. Other students took to Twitter to lodge complaints and there's even a Facebook page. But someone unhappy with the company's decision made a parody video using a clip of an Angry Adolph Hitler portrayed in the 2004 German film Downfall, which dramatizes the end of Hitler’s regime.
The individual, using the moniker “myfriendlycrow,” used subtitles to express displeasure at EDMC’s decision to sack the employees, many of whom are full-time professors. In the video, Hitler represents Goldman Sachs, the banking giant that owns the majority stake in the for-profit education company. Other members of the Third Reich are meant to represent EDMC executives and admission counselors.
I could give a blow-by-blow accounting of it here, but it might be something best left to your own viewing of the video below:
On the same two days that Education Management Corp. began laying off more than 800 employees — many at Art Institutes across the country — it posted more than 300 job openings at Art Institutes across the country. And as EDMC's battered workforce takes another hit, some supporters are suggesting it may be time to go public with their criticisms of the company.
Sources inside the company began notifying City Paper on Wednesday about the layoffs at Art Institutes in Pittsburgh and across the country including Washington D.C., Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale and California and the Illinois Institute of Art in Chicago. However, sources say the cuts happened at virtually every AI across the country.
Company officials did not return requests for comment Wednesday, but WPXI reported this morning that 60 employees — 20 at the Art Institute and 40 at EDMC’s corporate headquarters — were laid off, according to public officials. About 15 of those employees will be eligible to reapply for other positions.
And there are lots of options to choose from: EDMC’s corporate site currently lists more than 300 jobs available, mostly at Art Institutes.