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Industry Credentials: a Valuable Student Pathway to Success

5 Community Colleges, Clearinghouse, and Partners to Align Degrees with Industry Needs

by NSC Blog | Feb 22, 2022 | CEO, Clearinghouse News, Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion, Education-based Insights, Industry Credentials |

ECMC Foundation Grant to Support First-Generation, Low-Income, and Adult Learners

The National Student Clearinghouse, Workcred, and the League for Innovation in the Community College recently announced plans to offer five community colleges an affordable, scalable approach to align degrees with industry needs.

The partnership — and its focus on Certification+Degree (C+D) Pathways — will support the development of alternative pathways within the workforce through embedding industry-recognized certifications into community college coursework. ECMC Foundation awarded WorkCred a three-year grant to support this endeavor.

“This framework will build upon previous work by Workcred and the National Student Clearinghouse to link higher education institution enrollment data, industry credential data, and wage data,” said Rick Torres, president and CEO, National Student Clearinghouse. “The results of this grant will show how institutions can observe their learners from enrollment all the way into their careers, and better understand the value of industry credentials and degrees in that journey. This is an important step in helping institutions tell the most holistic story possible of the outcomes of their work.”

The partners will support five community colleges to develop and implement C+D Pathways in IT, logistics, and/or health science programs in at least three different states and establish a process for economical replication. In addition, the project team will develop a data-informed approach to guide C+D Pathway implementation and improvement. Ultimately, the collaboration will provide learners with opportunities to master occupationally-relevant skills that lead to living-wage jobs while they are on a pathway to an associate degree.

To accomplish the project objectives, Workcred, the League, and the Clearinghouse will also partner with a higher education accreditation body, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), to consider how C+D Pathways completion and attainment will be determined within the context of the accreditation process.

The project also supports ECMC’s Career Readiness aim to develop scalable approaches to increase learner retention and degree completion across a diverse learner population. ECMC is a national foundation working to improve postsecondary outcomes for students from underserved backgrounds.

“This framework will build upon previous work by Workcred and the National Student Clearinghouse to link higher education institution enrollment data, industry credential data, and wage data.”

Rick Torres
National Student Clearinghouse President and CEO

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