In support of learner persistence, employment, and competitive wages, Workcred, the League for Innovation in the Community Colleges (the League), the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), and the National Student Clearinghouse (the Clearinghouse) are excited to be partnering with the Community College of Aurora, Delta College, Kirkwood Community College, and Moraine Valley Community College to develop Certification+Degree (C+D) pathways in information technology (IT) and health sciences.
Earlier this year, Workcred and its partners were awarded a three-year grant from ECMC Foundation to co-develop and offer community colleges an affordable, scalable approach to align degrees with industry needs through C+D pathways. College partners will develop C+D pathways to provide low-income, first-generation, and adult learners with credentials to signal both their strong learning foundation (degree) and their job-ready skills (certification).
College partners anticipate launching their first pathway in January 2023 and a second in the fall of 2023. Workcred and partners will work closely with colleges to support their efforts, and will collaborate closely with HLC to better understand how developing pathways may impact accreditation. The project 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.
“We are pleased to partner with this diverse and innovative cohort of colleges. The pathways they develop will serve as models on how combining different types of credentials can best support many different kinds of learners,” says Dr. Roy Swift, Workcred executive director.
Rufus Glasper, president and CEO of the League, notes that, “Continuous adaptation and smarter, quicker, more innovative thinking will help these League member colleges develop C+D pathway programs while integrating the dynamics of accelerated change. Such change will impact each institution’s policies, people, finances, and student success outcomes.”
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.
See related news, “Alternative Pathways to the Workforce: Workcred Awarded ECMC Foundation Grant to Support First-Generation, Low-Income, and Adult Learners.”
For more information about C+D pathways and the project, visit https://www.workcred.org/Our-Work/Certification-Degree-Pathways.aspx.
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.
About the Higher Learning Commission
The Higher Learning Commission accredits approximately 1,000 colleges and universities in the United States. HLC is a private, nonprofit accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
About the League for Innovation in the Community College
The League for Innovation in the Community College is an international nonprofit organization with a mission to cultivate innovation in the community college environment. The League hosts conferences and institutes, develops print and digital resources, and leads projects and initiatives with almost 400 member colleges, strategic partners, and a host of other government and nonprofit agencies in a continuing effort to advance the community college field and make a positive difference for students and communities. Information about the League and its activities is available at www.league.org.
About the National Student Clearinghouse
The National Student Clearinghouse, a nonprofit formed in 1993, is the trusted source for and leading provider of higher education verifications and electronic education record exchanges. Besides working with nearly 3,600 postsecondary institutions, the Clearinghouse also provides thousands of high schools and districts with continuing collegiate enrollment, progression, and completion statistics on their alumni. For more details, visit www.studentclearinghouse.org.
About Community College of Aurora (CCA)
The Community College of Aurora is a diverse, tight-knit community that offers quality education at two Colorado locations in Aurora and Denver, and online. Students leave CCA prepared for the next stage of their lives, whether in the workforce or at a four-year institution. For more information, visit www.ccaurora.edu.
About Delta College
Since 1961, Delta College has served the Great Lakes Bay Region by educating, enriching, and empowering a diverse community of learners to achieve their personal, professional, and academic goals. For more information, visit www.delta.edu.
About Kirkwood Community College
Kirkwood Community College proudly serves the needs of students, families, employees, and employers in eastern Iowa. With 14 locations across 7 counties, Kirkwood is the area’s leading provider of accessible, affordable, and exceptional education and training. For more information, visit www.kirkwood.edu.
About Moraine Valley Community College
Founded in 1967, Moraine Valley Community College is the second largest community college in Illinois located in Palos Hills. With more than 130 programs, Moraine Valley Community College is dedicated to ensuring that students gain the knowledge and skills needed to meet the demands of a changing world. For more information, visit www.morainevalley.edu.