Former NUMMI employees hit by IME shut down

February 17, 2012 10:04:26 PM PST
Your tax dollars have been hard at work helping to retrain former NUMMI auto plant workers -- or so it seemed. There are now people who have suffered the ultimate one-two punch.

"I was in shock; I called my wife and told her and she was like 'not again,'" student Rodney Gonzalez said.

The first big disappointment was when the NUMMI plant in Fremont shut its doors in 2010.

Gonzalez had worked for the auto manufacture for 21 years. The federal government allocated about $20,000 to each NUMMI employee to learn new skills. About 30 of them enrolled in the Institute of Medical Education with campuses in Oakland and San Jose. It was an opportunity to start over.

"I really had a lot of passion for MRIs; it's something I really wanted to do found interesting," Gonzalez said.

This week, state regulations moved in, accusing the school of falsely advertising its accreditation, destroying the dreams of 350 students, but especially former NUMMI workers.

"Now all of a sudden it's like a bomb went off that hit us and we don't know what to do," student Vivian Tan said.

NUMMI students didn't lose their own money, as many others did, but the trade adjustment assistance was taxpayer funded and at this point, no one got their money's worth.

"We put in the money and the time and the education not good from the get go, so that's the biggest problem," student Michael Banks said.

The NUMMI workers can't recoup the year they've spent in class, but they did want their transcripts in hopes that another medical program will accept them as transfer students. ABC7 pushed and at least got that small concession from the CEO.

ABC7 asked a lot of other questions about the money, alleged deception and accreditation. The Institute of Medical Education has been operating since 2004 and the owners say they did nothing wrong.

"We strongly feel the state has not been fair to the institution but to the students, the students have been cheated," Institute of Medical Education CEO Sunny Vethody said.

No one feels more cheated than those who were promised a second chance.

"I put in a lot of time, sacrificed, my wife sacrificed; good thing's she's working, can't believe it's happening again," Gonzalez said.


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