Workcred, an affiliate of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), has been awarded a grant with Greater Texas Foundation to improve the effectiveness of industry certification and certificate/degree (iC+C/D) pathways. The project will support a partnership between Workcred, Houston Community College (HCC), and Texas Southmost College (TSC) to initiate a series of activities that examine and align education and workforce stakeholders’ processes and policies, striving to better support low-income and first-generation learners to complete iC+C/D pathways, earn postsecondary credentials of value, and enter the workforce.
Aligned or stackable credentials, including iC+C/D pathways, have become increasingly popular at colleges and universities in recent years. However, the ability of these programs to support low-income and first-generation learners to enter the workforce is mixed because the procedures and policies under which they were created were not developed or are not completely aligned with the goal of supporting learners to enter their regional workforce. As a result, significant resources are expended for learners to earn credentials that may or may not have regional labor-market value.
This project will allow Workcred, HCC, and TSC to unite key stakeholders, including colleges, employers, and learners, to align credential pathways with regional workforce demands through activities including conducting employer focus groups, seeking commitments from employers to recognize credentials of value, developing tools for outreach and education of learners about the value of credentials and iC+C/D pathways, and addressing relevant institutional policies and practices to better align pathways. Workcred will also develop an innovative playbook to share knowledge gained from the grant with other colleges.
“We are thrilled to collaborate with HCC and TSC to bring to life vital initiatives that address inequities within the workforce development system, and we’re grateful to Greater Texas Foundation for their support of our mission,” said Roy Swift, Workcred executive director. “There is a tremendous need to understand the policies and processes that lead to more equitable outcomes for all learners, and this program will support these outcomes while preparing individuals to enter careers with great potential for stable employment and better wages.”
“Helping students earn credentials of value is the core focus of Greater Texas Foundation’s mission,” said Sue McMillin, president and CEO of Greater Texas Foundation. “We are excited to support this partnership and look forward to seeing the impact it will have on student success and strengthening the regional workforce.”
“As the destination for regional workforce training, Texas Southmost College is relentless in pursuing opportunities to enhance our students’ marketability upon graduation,” TSC president Jesús Roberto Rodríguez said. “This initiative with Workcred will help us strengthen the alignment between industry certifications offered at TSC and the needs of local employers, ultimately connecting more graduates with high-wage, high-demand careers.”
“We are pleased to be part of this collaborative work and be able to continue to expand HCC’s vision to embed credentials of high value into degree programs,” affirms Dr. Madeline Burillo-Hopkins, vice chancellor workforce instruction and president, HCC Southwest, Houston Community College System. “For over eight years we have made a centerpiece of HCC’s workforce pathways the alignment of industry credentials of high value that would provide additional validation of skills and competencies employers are seeking in their talent acquisition processes. We are grateful to Greater Texas Foundation for supporting this important work which also aligns with the new THECB strategic plan for higher education, and we are beyond excited to be partnering with Workcred and TSC on this very important work.”
More on C/D Pathways
Did You Know?
C/D pathways, which involve embedding industry credentials into degree programs, is a common practice at community colleges, as these pathways are aligned with both student goals and industry needs. Furthermore, they better position students in their field and help to build a pipeline of prepared workers for employers.
To that end, as C/D pathways continue to be developed, Workcred strives to place more emphasis on effective pathway development and implementation, as well as the use of metrics to guide continuous improvement and ensure the pathways are increasing learner retention and degree completion, and leading to living wage employment.
Learn more about how C/D pathways have the potential to benefit all learners as a broadly applicable, scalable approach to aligning degrees in any academic discipline with industry-relevant competencies, as explained in Workcred’s editorial, Increasing Value Through Certification and Degree Pathways, published in The evolllution.
See also Certification-Degree Pathways: Aligning Undergraduate Curriculum to Industry Credentials and Professions.
Formed in 2014 as an affiliate of the American National Standards Institute, 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. Learn more about it on the Workcred site. To better understand and navigate the credentialing system, visit Workcred's Publications and Events page and view the video, An Introduction to Workcred.
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is a private non-profit organization whose mission is to enhance both the global competitiveness of U.S. business and the U.S. quality of life by promoting and facilitating voluntary consensus standards and conformity assessment systems, and safeguarding their integrity. Its membership is comprised of businesses, professional societies and trade associations, standards developers, government agencies, and consumer and labor organizations.
The Institute represents and serves the diverse interests of more than 270,000 companies and organizations and 30 million professionals worldwide. ANSI is the official U.S. representative to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and, via the U.S. National Committee, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). For more information, visit www.ansi.org.
About Greater Texas Foundation
Greater Texas Foundation is a private foundation based in Bryan, Texas that supports efforts to ensure all Texas students are prepared for, have access to, persist in, and complete a postsecondary education. Since its 2001 inception, the foundation has approved more than $115 million in grants to support Texas students. For more information, visit www.greatertexasfoundation.org.
About Houston Community College
Houston Community College is an open-admission, public institution of higher education offering a high-quality, affordable education for academic advancement, workforce training, career development, and lifelong learning to prepare individuals in our diverse communities for life and work in a global and technological society. For more information, visit www.hccs.edu.
About Texas Southmost College
Originally established in 1926, Texas Southmost College currently offers the first two years toward a bachelor’s degree, along with career and technical education leading to certificates and associate degrees, college preparatory studies to prepare students for college-level work, workforce training, and continuing education. Recently selected as a Bright Spot by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, TSC offers over 50 programs of study leading to an associate degree or certificate. For more information, visit www.tsc.edu.