Presented to the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education by Frank F. Britt, CEO, Penn Foster September 20, 2013
Good Morning, Chairman Rokita, Congressman Grijalva, and esteemed members of the committee, my name is Frank Britt. I am the CEO of Penn Foster – a leader in career-focused online and hybrid education with a commitment to addressing the middle skills gap in America.
The story of Penn Foster is rooted in training Americans with the technical skills needed to find jobs where they live. In 1869, in one of the largest mining disasters in the history of Pennsylvania, a massive fire caused the death of 110 workers, due in large part to a lack of training and expertise among the miners. This crippled the coal mines in the area and left people out of work and under-skilled. In response, newspaper editor Thomas Foster founded the International Correspondence School in 1890, to train miners on engineering and safety. Foster pioneered correspondence learning because his students did not have the means to travel every day to sit in a classroom. As the school reached its one millionth enrollment Thomas Edison, who authored one of its courses, remarked that home study was one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century. President Theodore Roosevelt agreed. He visited the Scranton campus and extolled the virtues of the school’s study method. Soon Foster’s programs grew and became more sophisticated, and the International Correspondence School became Penn Foster. In the years since, our institution has produced many notable alumni including Chrysler’s former president Walter Chrysler, GM’s former president Charles W. Nash and Dan Kimball, former Secretary of the U.S. Navy.
Since our inception, more than 13 million people have enrolled in Penn Foster, which encompasses a high school, career school, and college. Today, Penn Foster enrolls approximately 150,000 students annually in programs consistent with traditional schools and community colleges, providing fully accredited high school diplomas, career programs and certificates, and bachelor’s and associate degrees. Our Career School, College, and High School have all met the high standards of academic integrity set by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC), a nationally recognized accrediting agency, and various other accreditation bureaus including regionally accreditation for Penn Foster High School and Career School by the Commission on Secondary Schools of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
Click here to read the full testimony: Britt_CTE_Testimony_Final