From The Evolllution – A job-seeker takes out a three-ring binder to show an employer. Inside is a certificate of completion, an OSHA card, a certificate of achievement and a first-aid card. She holds up her phone: her LinkedIn account shows a badge in HR expertise. What does an employer make of this? And how do job seekers and students ensure that the credentials they earn are worthwhile?
For community colleges expanding our offerings in the world of credentials, serving students and employers alike, we must ensure portability, a clear pathway and industry recognition. That’s a lot to ask out of what can sometimes be a two-day class!
Non-traditional students often come to the two-year college with diverse credentials and prior-learning experience earned elsewhere: from other schools, organizations or the workplace. As students look to display skills to employers or baccalaureate and graduate programs that transcripts don’t fully reflect, many colleges have begun to explore alternative and innovative credentials. Non-degree credentials—such as badges, licenses, and short-term certificates—have the potential to help students demonstrate the applied knowledge and competencies they have achieved. In the interest of equity, we need to ensure we are setting up our career and technical education students for future success in the marketplace. At the same time, however, we must also ensure the quality and validity of these various credentials. Especially as more and more for-profit platform vendors appear on the scene, we should strive to safeguard lifelong value and suitability through a continuous and rigorous process of review and assessment.