Employer demand for microcredentials is on the rise, according to a new study from Collegis Education and UPCEA, the association for college and university leaders in online and professional continuing education.
The report, “The Effect of Employer Understanding and Engagement on Non-Degree Credentials,” includes the viewpoints of leaders from 500 organizations on their perceptions of the value of non-degree and alternative credentials.
Ninety-five percent of those surveyed said they saw benefits from microcredentials, particularly because they show an employee’s willingness to develop their skills (76 percent); demonstrate initiative (63 percent) and are an easy way to communicate employee competencies and skills (60 percent). Organizational leaders were particularly interested in stackable credentials leading to a degree, with 80 percent saying that increased their appeal.
“UPCEA’s mission is to support colleges and universities as they evolve their programs to meet the changing needs of employers and adult students. Microcredentials can play a critical role in the new economy. However, similar to how online degrees were perceived two decades ago, some are critical about the quality of non-degree programs, despite a lack of evidence to support a systematic problem,” said Jim Fong, Chief Research Officer, UPCEA. “The findings from the Collegis/UPCEA research show that organizational leaders value microcredentials and non-degree programming but are often unaware of them. Those that are aware agree that quality can be addressed with greater collaboration between employers and higher education.”
Although many employers recognize the value of alternative credentials in today’s workforce, a pervasive issue lies in their standardization and how to properly assess the validity and applicability of courses and certifications.
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