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The directors of the two national membership associations that lobby on behalf of a majority of the nation's trade schools have approved plans to merge their organizations.

Directors for the National Association of Trade and Technical Schools and the Association of Independent Colleges and Schools expect their members to endorse the merger plan this June, according to Stephen B. Friedheim, chairman of the aics board of directors.

"We think it's entirely appropriate for this kind of action to come to pass, since our schools work so closely at the state level," he said. "It's a natural extension to join together on a national level."

Mr. Friedheim said that over the past several years the two organizations have developed state resource centers and a default-management program for member schools, and have relied on the same research firm, the Career Training Foundation. The merger of the two groups also will strengthen their efforts to lobby the Congress on the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, he said.

Stephen Blair, president of the NATTS, will become president of the new organization, which does not yet have a name.

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