The Future of Career Colleges

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In 2015, ECMC Group created Zenith Education Group (Zenith)—a nonprofit provider of career school training—to acquire more than 50 campuses operated by the troubled, for-profit Corinthian Colleges. Zenith transitioned the campuses to nonprofit status, immediately cut tuition 20 percent, and established goals of helping students succeed by providing affordable, quality education and training for occupations in demand by employers.

While Zenith leadership focused on the day-to-day operations, ECMC Foundation made a grant to Zenith, enabling it to develop the long-term vision for its students—a better life through a meaningful and dependable career at an affordable price. To assist in this process, ECMC Foundation hired the design consulting firm, IDEO.

ECMC Foundation is enthusiastic about this vision for postsecondary education, which sets an example for a student-centered educational experience and a business model that aligns students and schools as true partners in creating a better life. The following report is the result of this 14-week project.

Certain elements of the recommendations in the IDEO report are being implemented as pilot projects at Zenith, funded by the ECMC Foundation. We will continue to post updates on the progress of the pilot projects during the course of the year.

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