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Members of Congress seek pay for workers at closed trade school

Two members of Congress sent a letter this week to the owners of a closed South Gate trade school demanding that former employees be properly compensated.

The for-profit Career Colleges of America closed suddenly in January after its accreditation and eligibility to provide federal financial aid was withdrawn amid ongoing financial problems.

The school provided medical training to about 800 students at three campuses. 

Nearly 400 employees who were working at the time the school closed have not been paid since November of last year, according to the letter written by U.S. Reps. Janice Hahn (D-Los Angeles) and Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles).

A number of former employees have filed complaints with the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor, according to the letter.

"These hardworking men and women and their families cannot wait," they wrote. "This matter must be resolved immediately. We call on Career Colleges of America to cooperate in any forthcoming investigation and avoid any lengthy legal process so that your former employees may move on and focus on finding new jobs."

The letter was addressed to the college's owners, Jeff Meisel and Ron Schaechter. In a statement Friday, Meisel and Schaechter said they were attempting to find funding to pay former workers:

"Career Collleges of America's ownership team is continuing to work diligently to secure funding to pay our former employees for the work they performed," the statement said. "Additionally, we have previously responded to inquiries from both Representatives Janice Hahn and Karen Bass, providing them with information regarding the measures Career Colleges of America has taken. Career Colleges of America understands the difficulty being faced by its former employees and will make every effort possible to rectify the situation."

Hahn's office and the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles have been working with former students to have their federal loans discharged and claim reimbursements for private student loans.

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carla.rivera@latimes.com

Twitter:@CarlaRiveralat

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