Academia, employers should strengthen collaboration

Academia institutions and employers should collaborate to develop more effective job-specific career pathways, which would lead to more hires, greater advancement opportunities and increased prosperity to those not receiving traditional college degrees, according to a recent policy paper by McGraw-Hill Research Foundation.

The policy paper, "Portable, Stackable Credentials: A New Education Model for Industry-Specific Career Pathways," explains how employers and secondary and post-secondary educational institutions can tackle challenges in today’s job market that requires more employees with mid- and high-level technical skills. This can be done by creating a structure of portable, stackable credentials, such as diplomas, certificates, certification, degrees, and licenses, and rooting them in transparent, navigable career directions. 

With these credentials, employers would be afforded a reliable way to hire and retain a skilled work force while also dictating a clear path for workers that shows how to build a sustainable career and create opportunities for advancement, the policy paper states.

"There is a common goal here and mutual needs among business and education, but there is also a lack of understanding and communication between these heretofore separate worlds,” the policy paper state. “Current silos between U.S. secondary and post-secondary education systems (including separate funding systems) further add to the challenges of developing a career and technical education system that can meet the needs of 21st century employers and educators, as well as the students and workers."

According to the policy paper, a career pathway credentialing system should be created to produce trustworthy credentials for employers and educational institutions. This would help students receive shorter-term credentials with clear labor market value at a faster pace, which would give them access to more advanced jobs and higher wages.  

"As a nation, we need to recognize and embrace that there are multiple paths to high quality careers that involve post-secondary education: portable, stackable industry-recognized credentials and/or a traditional college degree," the policy paper concludes. 



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