A new article by Wired, More Students Are Stacking' Credentials en Route to a Degree, sheds light on how stackable credentials, also known as "microcredentials," boost candidate qualifications. Workcred's associate executive director, Karen Elzey, explains in the article how graduating with a combination of certificates or certifications and a bachelor's degree can show employers that candidates have a breadth of knowledge.
In recent years, educational programs that incorporate multiple types of credentials have been on the rise. Sometimes referred to as "Credegrees," programs that include a traditional bachelor degree and an industry-recognized skill or credential are an innovative and effective strategy to strengthen workforce success.
Unlike the structure of a standard bachelor's degree program, a student enrolled in "stackable" credential programs can earn a credential in a specific skill they need. Over time, accumulated credentials can add up to a bachelor's degree. While colleges award certificates upon completion of a course of study, certifications, awarded by industry certification bodies, are a third-party assessment of competencies that indicate a person has skills required for an occupation or job. Stackable programs can include both certificates and certifications.
Wired profiles a student who is in the process of "stacking up" high-demand industry certifications in technical support, cloud technology, and data analysis as she earns her bachelor's degree in data management offered by Western Governors University (WGU). WGU's IT microcredential program costs about $150 per creditfar less than the $663 cost of a credit at conventional public and private two- and four-year colleges and universities.
In another article on education this month, Elzey explained how Workcred, an affiliate of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), has worked to support embedding certifications into undergraduate programs. Over the past year, Workcred has worked with partners APLU and UPCEA to convene representatives from universities and certification bodies to explore embedding industry and professional certifications into bachelor degree programs that encompass disciplines in healthcare, cybersecurity, and manufacturing sectors.
Read the Wired article, More Students Are Stacking' Credentials en Route to a Degree and the EvoLLLution article, Embedding Certifications into Bachelor's Degrees Could Improve Transitions into the Labor Market.
Workcred's mission is to strengthen workforce quality by improving the credentialing system, ensuring its ongoing relevance, and preparing employers, workers, educators, and governments to use it effectively. Workcred staff frequently travels the country to explain why transparency is a critical element of credential quality.