While opportunities to partner with employers for microcredentials are growing, higher ed is losing ground to private providers.

Partnerships to offer microcredentials are growing, but higher ed is losing out


Opportunities are growing, but higher ed institutions are losing ground to private providers

Key points:

Companies partnering externally to provide training or professional development to employees increased by 26 percent (nearly 15 percentage points) between 2022 and 2023, according to a new study from Collegis Education and UPCEA, the online and professional education association.

In addition, the report, Unveiling the Employer’s View: An Employer-Centric Approach to Higher Education Partnerships, revealed that more than 61 percent of companies without external training partnerships are interested in developing them.

In the second year of an ongoing research series, Collegis partnered with UPCEA to survey more than 500 employers to better understand their perceptions of collaborating with higher ed on professional development programs and microcredentials.

While opportunities to partner with employers on microcredentials are growing, higher ed is losing ground to private providers. Companies working with four-year colleges to provide employee training and professional development dropped by nearly 10 percent between 2022 and 2023, and community colleges also saw a decrease of 7 percent in training partnerships.

Meanwhile, the number of companies turning to professional organizations and for-profit companies, such as LinkedIn Learning, for employee professional development is on the rise. Nearly 40 percent of company leaders cited “expense” as the main barrier to partnering with colleges and universities.

“In just the second year of our research partnership with Collegis, our study finds that an increasing number of companies are turning to external resources for microcredentials and other alternative credential programs,” said Jim Fong, Chief Research Officer, UPCEA. “Through strong collaborations with corporate partners to develop microcredential offerings, colleges and universities have an unprecedented opportunity to diversify their enrollment and open up new revenue streams.”

Those companies with higher education partnerships reported high levels of satisfaction. Nearly 100 percent of employers who currently work with a higher education partner plan to continue, due to the school meeting the employer’s needs (77 percent), positive employee feedback (71 percent), and improved job performance (68 percent).

“This year’s study demonstrates that higher education institutions who develop custom programs to meet corporate training and professional development needs have forged successful partnerships and achieved enrollment at scale,” said Tracy A. Chapman, Ph.D., Chief Academic Officer at Collegis.

“However, the decline in employer-institution partnerships shows that colleges and universities are not just competing against each other, but also private providers that have established themselves as formidable competitors. Partnership opportunities are on the rise. However, colleges and universities must act now to retain and grow their market share in the microcredential space.”

This press release originally appeared online.

Sign up for our newsletter

Newsletter: Innovations in K12 Education
By submitting your information, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Laura Ascione

Oops! We could not locate your form.

IT Campus Leadership

Your source for IT solutions and innovations to support campus-wide success. Weekly on Wednesday.

  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Please enter your work email address.
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Sign up for our newsletter

Newsletter: Innovations in K12 Education
By submitting your information, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.