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6 Universities Partner on Credentialing Initiative

A half-dozen universities have partnered to launch a new credentialing initiative via the University Learning Store.

"Although an array of non-degree credentials exist, they can leave employers guessing as to their true value," said David Schejbal, dean of University of Wisconsin-Extension, the founding institution of the University Learning Store, in a prepared statement. "With the University Learning Store, leading institutions have joined forces to introduce credentials that clearly indicate the capabilities of the credential holders."

"Microcredentials earned online through the University Learning Store give employers confidence in learners' capabilities because of a thorough, industry-based verification process," according to a news release. "To earn a micro-credential, learners must prove their knowledge through hands-on, skills-based assessments. Employers and industry experts have verified these assessments as appropriate measures of competencies, aligning the training to job skills needed to close the skills gap."

Conferred upon completion of an assessment, the microcredentials are printable certificates or digital badges that can be displayed via social media. They will be available in three categories:

  • Power skills, such as communication, teamwork, critical thinking and more;
  • Technical skills, which include industry-specific skills in areas such as information technology, business and agriculture, among others; and
  • Career-advancement skills, such as leadership, public speaking and negotiation.

Microcredentials from the University Learning Store can also be combined with one another to create larger certifications. At launch, the two certifications being offered include Global Business Communication, delivered by the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Business Communications, via the University of Wisconsin-Extension. Additional certifications are "coming soon," according to information released by the University Learning Store.

"This is an innovation in skill credentialing that the workforce, and higher ed, has not seen before," said Nelson Baker, dean of Georgia Tech Professional Education, in a prepared statement. "At Georgia Tech, we bring the same rigor and real-world applicability to our non-degree educational opportunities as we do other programs. Industry validation is the final frontier of proving the value of lifelong learning."

Other participating institutions include the University of California Los Angeles, University of California Davis Extension, University of California Irvine Division of Continuing Education and University of Washington Professional and Continuing Education.

Courses at the University Learning Store cost $50, $100 or $150, though all courses are currently half price.

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at [email protected].

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