ED Magedson – Founder
College Internship Program2070 Allston Way, Suite 101 Berkeley , California USA
College Internship Program CIP False promises at Princeton costs with invalid reprecussions on staff who voice their concerns Berkeley California
Let me begin by saying that the only reason that I am still working for this company is because I care about the well-being and betterment of the students, who are, unfortunately, being taken advantage of by the Program Director and his "teammates". I say "teammate" because unfortunately there are two teams in this company: team A, which includes the Program Director, the Therapists and the Advisors, and team B, which includes everyone else. Everyone else breaks down into the Residential...sorry, Life Skils staff (they had to change the name to cover their tracks since they weren't providing residential skills by definition), the Career Coordinator with his Career coaches, the Tutoring crew, the Fitness & Wellness group, and last but not least, the Social Thinking Skills members, which includes myself. "Everyone else" is in the trenches doing all the dirty work and taking all the blame, while any good that everyone else achieves, team A takes all the praise for.
Now, the program charges anywhere upwards of 80K a year per student, and that does not include housing, food, transportation, or anything that a normal post-secondary program would include in their fees. Even UC Berkeley includes transportation and meal plan fees in their tuition. So we're looking at 100K easy, per sudent, per year. With that said, the Berkeley location has been around for almost 7 years, and has changed Program Directors at least once. The role of the Program Director (and the individual who holds this position of course puts their own spin on it, to make the position fit them better) speaks at every CIP experience weekend, which is held roughly every month. During these weekend experiences, potential clients are given the opportunity for a meet and greet. The families get a chance to meet the current students and staff, and ask questions of the program, much like orientation at any post-secondary program. Unfortunately, the promises that the Program Director tells the families in this orientation, is absolutely false, and there are several families and studetns who would agree and have voiced their concerns and disapproval of this comapny on Yelp. Some of the promises CIP makes are that students are completely free to go anywhere they want, whenever, no curfew. They are given the promise that the students are treated like adults. This is not the case. Once students arrive, they come to find out that there is curfew...every single day of the week, weekends included! Not only that, they have their credit cards taken away from them so that they have to ask for permisson (like a child) to spend their money.
Another promise made is that the program is tailored to each individual student's needs. FALSE! Every student, whether they like it or not, is forced to participate in modules that require them to learn skills that they may or may not already know how to do prior to arriving at CIP, i.e. clean, cook, go grocery shopping and so forth! If a student only needs assistance in one area, they are charged the full tuition fee, pay the housing costs, and made to take EVERY module and attend EVERY class at CIP (classes like sensory, wellness, nutrition, and such). Not to mention, if the student complains, and tries to advocate for themselves (mind you, self-advocacy is something they try to teach students about here), they are told that they don't know any better. A individual who knows how to do laundry on their own, and asks to not be chaperoned while doing it, is told that they have to continue being shown how to do it for at least year, until the Program Director decides if they can be given the independence to do it on their own or not.
Another promise made is that the students are free to do and go where they like. FALSE! There's a curfew whether it's Monday night or Friday night. In the words of a former student who was sold on the false promises: "The idea of the program is that they can take all your things and rights/privileges (depending on how you define it) and build you up bit by bit. They took away everything that gave me any sort of indepenence, as they do to everyone else. Drove my crazy. Sooner or later, they started giving me my independence back, but it was never enough until I got out of the program."
Another student had this to say about his experience at CIP: "...CIP does not care, it has become a monopoly, a scam to rob poor families of up to $80,000 a year, promising to help students in independent living. They make themselves out to sound like the do all and be all of a program; this is a lie. In my case, I came to CIP really only desiring to learn independent living skills such as cleaning, cooking, and housekeeping. I had come from working for a grocery store for 2 years doing a fantastic job. I went out and got my own job, even though it was hard for me to go through the interviewing process, I didn't need CIP back then. For them to treat me like I was incapable of doing anything after just having finished up working 2 years at a grocery store, was a total insult to my intelligence. CIP became a prison for me. They wouldn't let me leave when I wanted to. It was like they acted like my parents, but not even my parents were as crazy and power driven as they were." This particular student goes on to discuss (on YELP) the insanity he had to deal with while at CIP. It's most certainly worth a good read. It sums up CIP from the students angle all too well.
Now from the point of view of a staff member, that being me. I picked up on all this nonsense not even two months after starting work here. I have been working here since August of last year, 2013. Team A, who works upstairs, consists of individuals who spend no more than 45 minutes with each student, per week. Team B, on the otherhand, works with each student for at least 30 hours a week; however, individuals from Team A feel that they know the student far better, know their specific needs far better, and can advocate for them far better than Team B. Not to mention, if and when individuals on Team B ever stand up and voice their concerns, Team A shuts them down. I, for example, was told to "stay in my place" when I voiced a concern about a student threatening to physically harm another Team B staff member, as well as another student. Instead of having "empathy" for me and the other staff member, the Therapists on Team A felt that the student needed empathy. ("Empathy" is a big word that the Therapists like to throw around here. "Victim" is another, neither of which are ever applied to staff, or at least staff who are part of Team B, down in the trenches.) In fact, when I voiced my concerns about how to deal with this situation and the student, I was punished! The student was allowed to chose another Social Mentor, instead of working through his issues. My hours were taken away. I was made to feel like I was the one who did something wrong, when in fact I had nothing BUT empathy for this student. I put on my "empathy" hat and tried to understand where the student was coming from and what we could do at CIP to better help him express his feelings and how to avoid this situation in the future. However, because CIP is so money hungry, when they saw this opportunity for the student to leave the program if he couldn't get his way (and get away with his behavior), they decided to give him whatever he wanted to keep that money flowing straight into their pockets, while simultaneouly taking it away from mine!
It is also necessary to mention that the Therapist on Team A, is not an actual, licensed, Ph.D. She also has a biased point of view because she has twin boys with Aspergers. So to her, all the students in the program, are like her children. She treats them like they are her very own children. She thinks anything that Team B says is a peronsal attack against her and her "children", when in reality it's a means to help these students, and better tailor the program to each individual student's needs. Unfortunately, the Program Director is held under all the Therapists thumbs and bends to their every desire; whatever the Therapists say, goes. In addition, the Program director is constantly hiding from serious situations. He never wants to deal with them, and brushes them off, or hands them off to someone else beneath him. However, when I took my issue to the HR specialist AFTER he refused to talk to me and AFTER telling me, through someone else, to "stay in my place", suddenly he gets upset and asks why I couldn't come to him and try to solve the issue of Team A taking a personal attack against me and reducing my hours, unabashedly. On several different occasions, I have attempted to go to him regarding different concerns, and each time he passed me off to another staff member (in Team B) to deal with me; yet I still tried to address this issue with him, to no avail. Instead, he chose to ignore me, so of course I reached my limit and decided to contact HR. Now he's attempting to take yet another personal attack against me for going over his head to make a formal complaint against him. Forget making a complaint against him and his attempts to seduce me! He seems to think that my concerns are personal, when in fact, he himself, is taking my concerns about how the program is run, personally!
I pray and hope that someone can help expose this company for what they are and free these students from this hell. CIP expects to show these students how to interact with one another and how to be professionals in the real world, yet they can't get along and respect each other themselves! It's pure absurdity!
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 03/13/2014 04:50 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/College-Internship-Program/Berkeley-California-94704/College-Internship-Program-CIP-False-promises-at-Princeton-costs-with-invalid-reprecussio-1130583. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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