Last week, the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU) co-hosted its annual Puerto Rico meeting which convened over 100 attendees from private sector institutions across the island.
The day-long meeting, hosted in partnership with Nexia Cardona and Papin & Associates, held informational sessions on gainful employment negotiated rulemaking, accreditation and leadership. APSCU President and CEO Steve Gunderson delivered the keynote address during the luncheon. His message urged institutions to be proactive and share their stories.
The trip to Puerto Rico also included a visit to APSCU member institution Columbia Centro Universitario in Caguas, PR. In operation for over 45 years, Columbia Centro has an enrollment of 2,500 students total between their Caguas and Yauco campuses and continues to witness steady growth over the years. The past two quarters, Columbia Centro experienced its highest enrollment ever. Their president, Alex de Jorge Jr., has stepped in to run the family-owned college after his father, Alex de Jorge Sr., retired. Alex de Jorge Jr. believes that Columbia Centro’s commitment to a unique student experience with state-of the art facilities has driven students to enroll and complete their degrees at the college. Walking past the college’s newest renovation, a two-story library and study center, it was clear that Columbia Centro Universitario put the highest standard of student learning at the heart of its mission.
APSCU representatives had the pleasure to meet with three nursing students, Columbia Centro’s largest program. One student transferred from another college on the island, the other was the third generation in her family to attend and earn a credential from Columbia Centro, and the third student had followed in his brother’s footsteps to enroll in the nursing program. Each student expressed their satisfaction with the highly qualified staff, familial atmosphere, and desire to continue to achieve the next level of career preparation.
PSCUs open doors to many of the 9 million unemployed and 90 million undereducated Americans by providing a skills-based education. To remain competitive over the next decade, we must identify between 8 and 23 million new workers with postsecondary skills. PSCUs are a necessary part of that solution, having produced over 800,000 degrees last year alone.