After Vegas …

Well, the 2006 CCA Convention in Las Vegas has come and gone, and everyone is probably settling back into work, sifting through loads of mail, faxes and e-mail and, if you’re like me, already feeling like this year’s conference happened ages ago.

Held at the Venetian Hotel and Resort Casino, the 2006 Convention had a record number of exhibitors and a near-record number of participants in attendance. The industry review is in, and most, if not all, agree that this year’s convention was one of the best CCA has ever held. The opening session included a speech by Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, USA (Ret.) and the presentation of the Imagine America Foundation’s LDRSHP Awards to eight exceptional military career college students (most of whom also hold Purple Hearts).

The next day’s opening session included a detailed report on the American public’s attitudes toward career colleges and the sector by prominent pollster Peter Hart. The Convention closed on the third night with the Imagine America Foundation’s Annual Gala. The highlight of this event was the moving video presentation about the effects of Hurricane Katrina on career colleges and students in the disaster area and the CCA/IAF Disaster Relief Fund, which allocated over $245,000 to relief efforts. In between these events were dozens of high-quality breakout sessions featuring some of the brightest and most interesting people in the sector of higher education. They discussed topics like improving recruitment using database marketing, enrollment compliance, reauthorization update and student retention, among many more issues.

Face-to-face gatherings like the CCA Convention are not to be missed because they allow attendees to gain a tremendous amount of industry knowledge and offer an engaging environment for spontaneous, or deliberate, networking sessions that offer a variety of career-development opportunities.

And for the lone rookie reps in our sector hunched over their computer attempting to figure out how they could have possibly missed such an event … here are a few facts. The Career College Association (CCA) is the membership organization of over 1,200 private, postsecondary schools, institutes, colleges and universities in the U.S. that provide career-specific educational programs. Its research affiliate, the Imagine America Foundation (IAF), has awarded over $35 million dollars in scholarships and awards to military veterans and graduating high school seniors through its Imagine America high school scholarship, Military Award Program and new Imagine America Online program for distance learners. The Imagine America scholarship program is used by over 11,000 high schools all over the United States and Puerto Rico. Since its creation in 1982, the Foundation has become the bedrock of research information and scholarship offerings for the career college sector. Check out the web site at

Remember, next year’s CCA conference will be held in New Orleans, so the countdown begins now. Only 310-odd days to go!

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