For Immediate Release - October 10, 2012

DPL Launches New Website And Telephone Tip Line For Students Of Occupational Schools

Students Can Report Violations at 617-727-6917

BOSTON - The Patrick-Murray Administration's Division of Professional Licensure (DPL) announced today that it has launched a new informational website and a telephone tip line for students of occupational schools. DPL currently licenses and regulates more than 200 occupational schools, which provide training to students looking to practice in a wide range of trades and professions such as health care, business and construction trades.

"Occupational schools play an important role in training and re-training workers for gainful employment across many professions," said Barbara Anthony, Undersecretary of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, which oversees DPL. "We look forward to working with the industry and its students to help fill a critical workforce alignment role."

The DPL web site page - www.mass.gov/dpl/schools - provides information on licensing requirements, consumer protection measures, applicable regulations and other matters important to occupational schools, sales representatives, students and the public.

The tip line - (617) 727-6917 - offers students a new and straightforward way to lodge complaints against occupational schools or sales representatives for violations such as deceptive recruiting practices, unqualified instructors, or failure to provide required tuition refunds. The tip line will be staffed during business hours, and will allow callers to leave voicemail messages at all other times. All complaints will be investigated.

"No school can guarantee that students will get a job," said DPL Director Mark Kmetz. "But good occupational schools can provide students the skills they need to get good jobs in a number of trades and professions. DPL will use its licensing and regulating authority to promote good, quality occupational school programs, and will use its enforcement tools to protect students and the public."

Under legislation signed into law by Governor Deval Patrick earlier this year, oversight responsibility for private occupational schools transferred from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to DPL on Aug. 1.

The new law authorizes DPL to license private occupational schools and their sales representatives, to adopt rules and regulations, to investigate complaints and conduct inspections, and to take enforcement actions. Violations includemaking misrepresentations to prospective students, employingunqualified instructors, and failing to properly refund tuition payments.  Possible sanctions include license suspension, probation, or revocation and civil penalties. The civil penalties can reach $5,000 for each violation by a licensee, and $10,000 for the unlicensed operation of an occupational school ($25,000 for a subsequent violation). DPL also can order restitution and issue directives to cease and desist unlawful practices.

The Division of Professional Licensure is a regulatory agency within the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. The agency is responsible for ensuring regulatory compliance and the integrity of the licensing process for more than 365,000 licensees in trades and professions under the jurisdiction of 31 boards of registration, and more than 200 private occupational schools.

 

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