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5 Ways to Help People Earn College Credentials for Better Jobs and Lives

by NSC Blog | Feb 8, 2021 | Research Reports, Research Services |

Given the steep drop in enrollment for adults, especially at community colleges, and a sharp decline in first-time associate degree and certificate earners, these downward trends are likely to continue if we don’t quickly change our practices, tactics, and focus, according to the Lumina Foundation’s Courtney Brown, in a column she recently wrote.

Furthermore, according to the latest data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, 3.7 million new college graduates in the 2019-20 academic year represent no growth from the previous year.

Brown wrote, “Not only did the U.S. just report the worst annual economic performance since 1946, but studies show that two-thirds of new jobs require education beyond high school. Adults—who most need to sharpen their skills and learn new ones to compete for jobs—are driving most of these declines.

“The time to act is now. Millions of adults need to skill, upskill, or reskill. Semesters are just beginning across the nation and many community colleges offer rolling admissions — especially for certificate programs. There are actionable, immediate steps that we can — and must — take to help people earn degrees and credentials that lead to better jobs and lives.”

Read Brown’s article to learn about five suggested actions, including reaching out to the 36 million former students who have some college credits but no degree.

  1. Focus on short-term, stackable credentials;
  2. Reach out to students who have some college but no degree;
  3. Offer much-needed holistic support;
  4. Award college credit for learning outside of the classroom, on the job or in the military; and
  5. Partner closely with employers across industries.

Contact the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center or your Regional Relationship Manager to learn how the Clearinghouse can further assist you on your goals.

“There are actionable, immediate steps that we can — and must — take to help people earn degrees and credentials that lead to better jobs and lives.”

Courtney Brown
Vice President of Impact and Planning, Lumina Foundation

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