Dr. Joe Pace

Please explain the innovations you’ve brought to (or observed in) career education. What led you to recognize the need for these innovations? What has been their impact on students and higher education?

Years ago, I became a psychologist and I did my doctoral work in an area called persistence – the study of why some humans persist and others give up. I thought I could attach that concept to student retention. My starting premise was that those of us in career education are in the mental health business as well as social service. What I found was that if we could put the materials together to give to students, it could give them some life skills they may not have, especially those life skills for the first generation of students to go to college. I’ve seen that idea work for 22 years now.

What quality about career colleges or their students motivates you personally?

I’ve been involved in the sector since 1969. That’s a long time. The one thing that has always motivated me the most is when you see these students without models. Many of them are the first in their family to go to college. When many of them enroll in a traditional college or university, these students have no models. They go to traditional schools and get lost in the shuffle. At career colleges, they have what I call “intelligent hearts.” Some traditional schools have all this “IQ” intelligence, but they very little heart. Then there are others that can have a big heart and not know how to be a model and a mentor. Career colleges by nature have always been caring and do more than teach subjects – they change lives.


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