EDMC lays off 250 systemwide

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Education Management Corp., the Downtown-based company that manages four chains of for-profit colleges across the country, laid off 250 people this week. That included 110 in the company’s Pittsburgh offices — 30 on Thursday and 80 earlier this week.

Chris Hardman, a corporate spokesman, said all of the local layoffs have been in administrative and support jobs, as were most of the jobs the company eliminated across the country.

The latest layoffs are another sign of a company beset with financial troubles. EDMC, and the for-profit education industry, had a period of huge growth and then was hit by a combination of strict new requirements regarding federal student loans and a shrinking demographic of traditional students as the population falls off.

Enrollment in 2011 throughout the EDMC university system was 150,800 students. As of the quarter that ended March 31, enrollment was down to 119,500 students throughout its university systems that include Argosy University, the Art Institutes, Brown Mackie Colleges and South University.

Between 2008 and 2011, the company’‍s employment ranks grew from 16,100 to 25,200, according to EDMC filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In the next two years, the workforce dropped to 23,400 systemwide.

That cycle also has been seen in Pittsburgh, where the company employed 2,000 in 2008 but grew to 2,600 people at its height in 2011, said Mr. Hardman. The numbers dropped to 2,300 workers in 2013.

This week’s layoffs bring the number of local EDMC employees to fewer than 2,200 workers.

Also this week, the company received a waiver from its lenders allowing it to surpass a certain ratio of debt to equity while it restructures its business to conform to the decline in enrollment.

Ann Belser: abelser@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1699.

First Published June 26, 2014 4:51 PM

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