The demand for microcredentials is increasing. About 54% of U.S. employers surveyed in 2021 said they view microcredentials as extremely/very important, a report by Wiley Education Services and Future Workplace found. That’s compared with 20% of employers in 2019 who said it was something they would consider in place of a college degree when hiring candidates.
At the same time, learners are increasingly looking for on-demand, accelerated educational options that help them fulfill a specific goal, whether learning a skill or increasing their hiring and earning potential.
Monroe Community College (MCC) in New York is one college striving to meet this demand. Beginning in the fall 2022 semester, MCC will offer two additional microcredentials, expanding its suite of short-term learning options to meet the increased demand within the past year: Optical Fabrication Essentials and Construction Fundamentals I.
With an optical fabrication essentials credential, individuals are prepared to work in the optics manufacturing field at an above entry-level starting wage. And individuals with a construction fundamentals credential have the skills that employers in the construction industry seek in an entry-level technician.
MCC already offers microcredentials in culinary arts; earth science; geospatial information systems technology; Holocaust, genocide, and human rights studies; HVAC essential workplace skills; and multicultural diversity – world health perspective.
These microcredentials are narrowly focused so learners achieve specific skills and competencies in their chosen field of study relevant to industry, community or their individual needs. They typically consist of six to 14 credits and, for noncredit coursework, 90 to 180 hours to complete.
The microcredentials can stand alone as a valuable career credential or provide a pathway to an existing MCC certificate or associate degree program, allowing learners to build upon their credential over time. Stackable credentials are designed to allow some “on” and “off” ramps so a person can pause or intersperse employment as needed.
This short-cycle educational option is attractive to various learners – from current students to working professionals – because it better accommodates their schedules, saving them time and money in the long run, and in some cases offer an added opportunity to gain work-based learning and industry certification. In addition, employers in need of middle-skill workers benefit from an increased talent pool.
How is your college meeting the demand for microcredentials? Sound off on LinkedIn.
This article originally appeared here.