From the 1973 oil crisis to the Great Recession, economic uncertainty has historically driven demand for education as workers look to gain a leg up in turbulent job markets. We’re seeing a similar trend play out today.
Americans are once again reassessing educational opportunities as the pandemic continues to transform the work environment and cause record numbers of workers to quit their jobs or search for new ones, leaving their employers to fill in the gaps.
In this variable market, employees and employers are finding value in upskilling rather than the traditional route of a four-year degree or a master’s program — and many are turning to microcredential programs that can provide in-demand skills in a short period of time.
Non-academic courses, trainings or certifications are the most popular options for adults considering additional education, according to the Strada Education Network — 36 percent of adults plan to enroll in such programs within the next five years.
The demand for microcredentials presents a golden opportunity for higher education, but institutions need to catch up with changing skill sets or risk losing out on this growing market segment. By aligning courses that match the needs of the remote workforce, institutions can transform their microcredential programs from a single touchpoint into a starting point for lifelong learning.
The perfect storm for upskilling
The past two years have been a massive catalyst for microcredential programs.
As business shifted from the office to remote work and now, to predominantly hybrid models, many organizations struggled in this new digital environment. And many remote teams lacked the talent and skills to keep pace with the influx of technology embedded in every aspect of work.
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