Embedding Industry Certifications into our Degree Programs

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Karen Elzey, Associate Executive Director at Workcred, joined the podcast to talk about the partnerships and convenings that created a new framework for embedding industry certifications into our degree programs.

Employers are looking for candidateswho have acquired knowledge and can apply it. You're listening to enrolment growth,university from heliks education, the best professional development podcastfor higher education leaders looking to grow in Romant at their college oruniversity, whether you're looking for fresh endromant growth techniques andstrategies or tools and resources. You've come to the right place. Let'sget into the show, welcome back to Enroman GrowthUniversity, a proud member of the connect Evu podcast network, I'm EricWolsen with helicks education and we're here today with Karen Elsie AssociateExecutive Director at warkred. Karen welcome the show great thanks forhaving the Eric really excited to talk with thoug today about creating a newframework for imbetding industry, certifications into our degree programs.But before we dig into that Karen, can you get the listeners a little bit ofbackground on both work? CRAD and your...

...rule? There sure, for those who don'tknow, work cread was founded in two thousand and fourteen as a nonprofitaffiliate of the American National Standards Institute, and our mission isto strengthend work force quality by improving the credentialing system,ensuring its ongoing relevance and preparing employers, workers, educatorsand governments to use it effectively. I am the Associate Executive Directorof workred and I managed several key projects, one of which we're talkingabout today, focusing on embedding certifications into bachelor's degreeprograms, so excited about your broader missionand everything that you're doing to help translate and connect highereducation with industry. Carring to kick us off today talk about the valuein integrating certifications into our degree programs and why you believehighered needs a framework for doing this better. So we know that certifications havebeen embedded in community colleges and...

...there's been success there, but wehaven't seen that same level of interest at the bachelor's degree level.Yet we know that an increasing number of job postings require applicants tohave both a bachelor's degree and proven skills relevant to thatoccupation. R GHT and employers are looking for candidates who haveacquired knowledge and can apply it, and this requirement, you know, can bea barrier to new graduates entering the workforce or two adult learners who arechanging their career pathway. An industry based credentials such ascertifications, can provide that evidence in work related skills. So wethink you know the value is being able to take two really strong types ofcredentials, degrees and certifications and marry them in a way where a studentcan earn both simultaneously and ultimately provide them with betterlabor market outcomes. So we think of framework was needed because well, thishas been done at community colleges. Ou...

K W. What are the actual steps that,for your institutions, really need to think about to make this successfulwithin their institution, and we thought that the framework would helpguide a conversation at campuses across the country superhelpful background.Can you also give us a quick review of the partnerships and the conveningsthat helped you land on this framework sure so the project brought together.Three organizations work, cred, the Association of Public and Land Graatuniversities, the University Coalition for Urban, serving institutions and theuniversity professional and Continuing Education Association. So, together weconvened more than a hundred and fifty participants from certifications anduniversities across the country, and we held four convenings and three of thoseconveniengs focused on specific industry sectors, healthcare,cybersecurity and advanced manufacturing. The fourth focused onliberal arts programs at colleges and...

...universities. Each conveninghighlighted different models of partnerships between certificationbodies and universities as a starting point for a discussion on how theattendees might actually go back and create these certification degreepathways at their own institutions. We also use the conveniance to discuss thechallenges that universities and certification bodies face whenimplementing these pathways, and we talked about what the opportunitieswere. What were the benefits? You know to a variety of stateholders studentsfaculty members, the community at large and employer so really trying to narrowin o what that value proposition was to each of those different stakeholders,love the contact superhealphful background, let's dig into the goodstuff now, Karen: can you walk us through this six step framework thatyou landed on for creating certification degree pathways at a highlevel? Sure absolutely so we really...

...looked at six main areas where peopleshould focus their efforts. The first was: How do you get leadership byin andby leadership by and we're talking, both at the faculty level, university,Deans and provosts, and on the certification body side, theirexecutive director and their directors of certification, as well as buyingfrom students, the employers and communities? So you know: How do youget people really excited about this? How do you get people to understandwhat the value is to them? You know what answer that question. What's in itfor me from all of those different perspectives, the next was really tohave create a common language, and so one of the things we've discovered atour convenince was that universities and certification bodies don't speakthe same language and in fact they lack knowledge about the governance and thestructure of each organization, and one of the key issues was reallyunderstanding the definition of different credentials. So what is acertification versus a certificate? And...

...it's not that one credential is betteror worse than another, but understanding how we're defining them.In the conversation that we're having is critical- and we know that acrossthe country we have different definitions. The third step was reallyto align competencies, so understanding a certification body usually certifiessomeone after they have passed an exam and that exam has a test blueprintwhich outlines the content that is being assessed, and so the whole pointof aligning competencies is to take and understand what is being assessed onthat test blue print and what is currently being taught in the academicprogram that you are looking at and then being able to kind of match. Thosecompetencies and understand where there's a gap and if there's a gap, youknow how do you add additional curriculum and what does that look likethe fourth step is really determining...

...the appropriate fit so o. where doesthes certification fit into a four year bachelor's degree? Is it a course capt?Is it used as a course capstone? Is it used as a program capstone? Are youaligning the curriculum with the competencies of the certification examso that, once t e student completes their bachelor's degree, they can thensit for the certification exam, because some certifications have prerequisitesthat may require a bachelor's degree and some experience. So you need toreally understand what the prerequisites are fordifferent certifications, or are you offering certification, after a seriesof courses, so really trying to figure out where, within the program it fits?The fifth part of the framework is to allocate resources, so we know thatthere, as some costs to this one, is the cost of the certification exam. Sowhere do we find funding to cover that cost, and how do we ensure that we'renot increasing? You know equity gaps by...

...only allowing students who have theresources to take the certification exam and those that don't have theresources to be unable to take that exam. So really thinking verystrategically about how we're dealing with equity issues. You know allocatingresources to promote the program to students. You know identifyingemployers who will value in higher students who have earned thecertification in the degree, and then how are you supporting students topursue the new pathway and the sixth part of that framework is to identifyhow? Then the university is going to communicate that students have earnedboth a degree and a certification. So in that case we're thinking about howdoes this appear on transgrips or learning an employment records? Are youusing digital badges digital portfolios? So we think those six steps arecritical to really imbedding certifications in degrees and creatingnew certification degree pathways,...

...which can be for a variety of studentsright. These pathways can be targeted towards traditional students, adultlearners. We can think about people who have earned certifications earlier alsoand how they transitiond to a bachelor's degree by you know givingcollege credit for that certification. So there are a lot of ways that thiscan be applied at the university. I was so impressed by the practicality of theframework. I've seen some tackling other initiatives where it assumespolitical buyin. It assumes the money for these things and it's like no, thatsteps one for like Anlik. If you don't get passe Thap One, don't even try. SoI was incredibly impressed with with where you landed care and let's pretendthat we have some listeners from our academic teams slightly concerned aboutthese initiatives in general that the tail may be wagging the dog here thatthis makes academic governance to...

...subservient to our local employers,thiece third party certificates. What's your response to that yeah I mean Ithink I've was pleasantly surprised at the conveniince by the number ofuniversities that did not express that. That really saw this as a benefit tostudents that the degrees could be enhanced by providing technical skillswhich in some cases you know. Maybe that program wasn't teaching right orto have a third party validation, that their students have learned specificskills at the university and how to apply them. So I think you know when welook at a lot of research. That's out there. We see that you know what do.Students want upon completion of their program, they're looking for employment,and we know that we want to provide them a good education which I think youget with a bachelor's degree, but we also want to give them an opportunityto earn technical skills, and you know...

...you see this specifically in certainoccupations like it, where certifications are very valuable.There's also an opportunity to expand students horizons about what careeropportunities could be for them right. So, let's take a Spanish major and ifthey got a certification in medical translation, they could use theirSpanish skills and recognize that there's also another career path wayfor them. So I think it also opens up opportunities. So as universities arelooking to how they provide and prepare their students with the best foundationto be successful upon leaving the institution, I think certificationdegree pathways, provide that and it's not as if you're you know, linked toone specific employer and some of these certifications, you know, can be addedto different types of degrees right. So we've seen new certifications that arelooking at the ethics of emerging technologies. What kind of bachelor'sdegree students are they looking for...

...philosophy matures right? So go getthat degree in philosophy. Here's another potential career path: WHAY!You could have applying what you've learned in philosophy to it. Karen ismore and more colleges start taking your framework start taking thisapproach of integrating industry searts into our degree programs. What does thefuture? Look like your? How do you believe this would shift the economy ofboth higher education and Industry Institution Partnerships? Yeah? I thinkit would. You know tighten the relationship between the skills thatare required in the economy, with the skills that are being taught ineducation and training programs, and I think that would help alleviate you, owstudents, who are less sure about what their options are after college, whichI think is critical. But I also think we you know recognize the differences.Certifications do not replace higher...

...education right. We need both. We needthat broad based education, the ability to think critically all of those things,but we also need validation of skills that are changing very rapidly, and weknow specially in technology that it's very difficult to keep for universitiesto keep up with those rapidly changing technical skills, but what they can dois teach how to learn, wrigt and teach broad concepts and theory and that'scritical, but the certifications can assess whether students can then applythat information to skills that are changing very quickly. Karen wonderfulstuff, any next steps advice for institutions looking to make theirdegree programs more market friendly. Where should they start? First Yeah? Soyou know we put together a report on everything we've learned, which is onour website at work. cred, wwwwor, cred,...

...dot, Org, and I would encourage peopleto take a look at that report also take a look at the appendaces which reallyoutline like the value propositions and then certainly contact us. If you areinterested in further exploring this concept, we are in the process rightnow, of trying to secure additional funding through different grandopportunities to test out models of certification degree pathway, so thatwe can really see how this framework can be applied at different types ofinstitutions. You know a different places across the country, so I welcometo hear from any listener who might be interested. They can contact me. Myemail address is K. el Z, Ey at work, Kred DOTBORG, Karen. Thank you so muchforyour time today. I'm so glad this framework exists and thanks so much forjoining us. Thank you for having ther attracting today's new post.Traditional learners means adopting new...

...enrolmant strategies. helics educationsdata driven enterprise, wide approach to enrolment growth is uniquely helpingcolleges and universities thrive in this new education, landscape and Heloxhas just published the second edition of their enrolment growth playbook,with fifty percent brand new content on how institutions can solve today's mostpressing andromant growth challenges download it today for free at Helocks,Educationcom playbook you've been listening to enromentgrowth university from helics education to ensure that you never miss anepisode subscribe to the show in Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thankyou so much for listening until next time.

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