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University of Antelope Valley pays employers for jobs

September 9, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A local for-profit university is raising eyebrows with its new offer for prospective employers. Hire one of their graduates and the school will fork over $2,000.

With California having the second highest unemployment rate in the nation, officials at the University of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster are offering employers a major incentive to hire their graduates.

"Any employer who hires a graduate from UAV during the month of September," said UAV founder Marc Johnson. "If that employer maintains that employee for 90 days, UAV will reimburse that employer up to $2,000 or a one month salary."

"It just lets you have a positive outcome about everything," said student Shameka Gray. "Knowing that after you graduate you are going to be somewhere where you are comfortable."

"I am hoping it will get people to actually want to hire us," said student Roger Ruelas. "It's tough right now because of the economy."

With the unemployment rate in Lancaster and Palmdale at a staggering nearly 20 percent, the university is only extending the incentive program to local businesses who hire their graduates.

University officials say they are in part using funds that would normally go toward university advertising to help pay for what they are calling the Smart Hire Employer Incentive Program.

Officials at Antelope Valley Community College commented about the program.

"As a public institution we are not in a position to offer money in situations like that," said Steve Staneerfer from Antelope Valley Community College. "It could be considered as a gift of public funds which is forbidden by law."

Unlike public universities, for-profit colleges offer training and certificates for technical and trade jobs in additional to some bachelor degree programs.

U.S. Department of Education data reports for-profit colleges top the list of California institutions with the highest rates of federal student loan borrowers who defaulted within three years of beginning repayment.

Under stricter federal guidelines, for-profit universities like UAV must place at least 65 percent of its graduates in jobs. They must do this in order for the university to maintain its accreditation.

"We've been very fortunate that our numbers have met any requirements that we have had to meet over the past eight years since we have become accredited," said Johnson.


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