a doctor, a lawyer or an accountant," said Dr. Arthur N. Cherdack, director of the Los Angeles ORT (Organization for Rehabilitation through Training) Technical Institute.
The school provides "a perfectly wonderful option of technical skills: of getting a job or being an entrepreneur," Cherdack said.Cherdack was in Salt Lake City Sunday to speak at an American Women's ORT fund-raiser. Started as a Jewish organization 105 years ago in Russia, ORT is now the largest non-governmental vocational training organization in the world - operating a network of more than 800 schools and boasting more than 2 million graduates in 27 countries.
ORT operates two schools in the United States: the Bramson Institute in New York City and the Los Angeles ORT Technical Institute. The Los Angeles school opened its doors in October 1985 with 77 students. A lengthy feasibility study had been conducted first to see if it could compete with California's extensive higher education system.
The study showed a need for a school that featured short periods of extensive training, so LAOTI began business with nine-month courses in computer programming, computer electronic technician and secretarial word processing. The school opened with five classrooms. Cherdack was recruited from the L.A. community college system, where he spent 16 years in administrative positions, the last being vice president of academic affairs at Southwest College.
During the past three years, enrollment at LAOTI has increased to 400 and the school has received accreditation from two national organizations: the National Association of Trade and Technical Schools and the Accreditation Council for Continuing Education and Training. Cherdack said the school was accredited in the minimum amount of time and won rave reviews.
Accreditation makes federal financing available for students, including Pell Grants and Guaranteed Student Loans.
A large industry advisory board promotes successful placement, advises on curriculum and keeps the school on the cutting edge of market demands.
Each student serves an internship during the last three months of course work, spending time with such companies as IBM, Xerox, Digital Equipment, Business Land and NCR. "When the students graduate, the companies grab them," Cherdack said.