Four Ways to Increase the Value of Short-term Credentials: A Guide for Community Colleges

It is becoming increasingly common for individuals, including everyone from recent high school graduates to mid-level professionals, to pursue educational credentials outside of a four-year college. This includes certificates, certifications and micro-credentials such as digital badges. Community colleges are a main source of short-term credential programs. However, they tend to cater to a variety of industries instead of focusing on what is most regionally relevant. Often, the result is a disconnect between what these colleges offer and what employers value.

This guide by Jobs for the Future (JFF) and the Lumina Foundation offers recommendations for community colleges to offer industry credentials that are aligned with employer needs. The brief examines common challenges community colleges face in selecting and marketing high-quality credentials, and offers four recommendations to transform their program offerings to serve both students and employers:

  1. Let employers drive.
  2. Get creative with marketing.
  3. Shake up institutional culture.
  4. Remember all stakeholders.

This guide is a helpful resource for community college leaders, postsecondary policymakers, employers and other community stakeholders to better understand the necessity of high-value credentials and identify strategies to align postsecondary credential offerings with labor market needs. 

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Published: 
December 2017