Making a Market for Competency-Based Credentials: What Can Colleges Do?


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Together with college representatives, we explored how colleges can change the way they develop curriculum and credentials.

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  • A cluster of related knowledge, skills, abilities, and personal qualities that are used in an integrated way to add value to an environment (context, conditions, and culture).
  • Introduce the idea of competencies.
    SCG’s approach to connect competencies to tangible results that we can measure.
    What is key is that while the duties may change, the competencies to accomplish those duties may remain the same.
    If the duties change, we must adapt the performance measures to be specific to what the worker is required to do.
  • Key partners are Labor, community colleges, workforce boards, and industry experts
    Conduct a widely distributed survey of current workers to determine level of skills required for each job.
    Develop work-related scenarios to place the skill standards in context of the work environment.
    Verify the data gathered from focus groups.
    Disseminate skill standards information to involved parties from industry, education and labor for review and editing.
  • Making a Market for Competency-Based Credentials: What Can Colleges Do?

    1. 1. Making a Market for Competency-Based Credentials: What Can Colleges Do? Final in a series of three webinars available at 1
    2. 2. Enter the Audio PIN shown on your screen! Raise/lower your hand (646) 307-1716 958-020-546  All Attendees are muted. To be unmuted, you will need to have entered your PIN. Send comments and ask questions here!  Please don’t put call on “hold”!  Ask ?s in Question box or “Raise Hand”  Bad connection? Hang up and dial back in  Technical Support: 888- 259-8414, ext. 1 2
    3. 3. Today’s Presenters Jeannine La Prad CSW Dr. Maria Coons Harper College, IL Moderator Melodee Mabbitt, CSW Dr. Robert Topping Spectrum Consulting Group Dr. Rebecca Nickoli Ivy Tech Community College, IN
    4. 4. Available at New Report: Making a Market for Competency-Based Credentials Slides from this series
    5. 5. What is a competency-based credential?  Accurately assures competencies, based on skills and knowledge of the holder  Awarded based on demonstration of those competencies  Aligns with specific industry standards and founded on the skills/competencies needed by employers
    6. 6. A Quality Competency-Based Credentialing Process
    7. 7. Current State of Play… In a nutshell • Competency-based credentialing as a concept resonates widely • Large-scale adoption and use needs: – Transparency (common language, registries) – Interoperability (quality assurance, data infrastructure) – Making the Return on Investment clear to employers, job seekers, and educators
    8. 8. Building the Market: Five Key Elements
    9. 9. Expanding Use by Educators  Engage employers as full partners  Utilize methodologies to ensure that all key competencies related to job tasks and employability/ soft skills are identified  Work with sector partnerships  Meet students where they are  Provide opportunities for applied learning experiences  Focus on credential related outcomes
    10. 10. The Evolution of the Business-Education Partnerships “Off the shelf” course offerings Needs assessment/customized training Organizational development approach (“Trusted Partner” – often one on one) Deep engagement in an industry- shared ownership of standards, curriculum and assessments (Provide solutions through cross industry and regional sector partnerships)
    11. 11. Dr. Maria Coons
    12. 12. William Rainey Harper College  Comprehensive community college in Palatine, Illinois  Named for Dr. William Rainey Harper, a pioneer in the junior college movement in the United States and the first president of the University of Chicago  Serves 40,000+ students annually, with access to jobready degrees and certifications.  Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools (NCA)
    13. 13. Matching Competencies  Completion of industry certifications  Quality check  Demonstration of skills  Not “life experience”  Portfolios  Exams  Corporate/Military Training (Badging)  Crosswalk
    14. 14. Example: Manufacturing Credentials
    15. 15. Long-Standing Manufacturing Programs Maintenance Technology  Associate in Applied Science Degree  Credit Certificate Programs – – – – Basic Maintenance Commercial Maintenance Manufacturing Basic Certificate Supervisory Maintenance Certificate Welding Technology  Associate in Applied Science Degree  Credit Certificate Programs – – – – Advanced Welding Certificate Basic Pipe Welding Certificate Basic Welding Certificate Welding Fabrication Certificate
    16. 16. New Initiative Harper College launches new manufacturing program, internships In an attempt to fill growing vacancies in high-tech manufacturing, Harper College is teaming up with local companies to create a stream of future employees. Harper’s Program Statewide Network
    17. 17. Manufacturing Technology Manufacturing Technology  Associate in Applied Science Degree  Credit Certificate Programs – Manufacturing Production Certificate – Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Operator I Certificate – Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Operator II Certificate • Aligned with Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC) Certified Production Technician (CPT)
    18. 18. Industry Certifications  Entry Level: MSSC Certified Production Technician (CPT)  Intermediate (within an area of specialization): – Mechatronics: Certificates in Motion, Sensors, Electronics, Robotics and PMMI Certification – CNC: Certificates in Precision Machining and NIMS Certification – Industrial Maintenance: Certification in Machine maintenance – Welding/Metalworking: AWS and NIMS Certifications – Green Manufacturing: Certificates in Waste Management and Lean Manufacturing
    19. 19. Lessons Learned: Competency-Based Credentials Robert Topping, Ed.D. Spectrum Consulting Group, LLC (503) 642-5165 in conjunction with The Regional Education Training Center and the Pacific Northwest Center of Excellence for Clean Energy
    20. 20. Competency-Based Proficiency Credentials Mastery Worker / Student Demonstrations of Competencies Key Performance Measurements(KPM) Value- added = Proficiency Credential Assessment Key Key Observable Observable Outcome Outcome (KOO)) (KOO
    21. 21. Pacific Northwest Center of Excellence for Clean Energy: A Centralia College (WA) Partnership  Conduct focus groups to identify critical work functions and key activities  Verify the data gathered from focus groups.  Survey current workers to determine proficiency level of skill for a job position  Compile and research existing standards in related jobs and careers  Develop work-related scenarios to place the skill standards in context of a work environment  Gain Industry endorsement of “ skills standards” for key occupations 23
    22. 22. Skill Standard Duty/ Activity Competency When it adds value to a Context, set of Conditions and Culture
    23. 23. Competency Proficiency Score Card
    24. 24. Value Proposition Demonstrations of Industry Proficiency Credentials Mastery Objective Focused • Specified • Standards-based • Contracted • Paradigm Shift Value Added •Competency-based •Context • Set of Conditions • Culture Copyright © 2012. Spectrum Consulting Group, LLC. All rights reserved.
    25. 25. Demonstrations of Mastery Outcomes • Specific • Standardized • Objective Focused • Contracted
    26. 26. Demonstrations of Proficiency Value Added • Competency-based •Context • Set of Conditions • Culture
    27. 27. What Changes? Learning Mastery vs. Competency-Based Proficiencies
    28. 28. Context Conditions Culture Beliefs Values Customs Attitudes
    29. 29. Credentialing Webinar Corporation for a Skilled Workforce Rebecca Nickoli, Ed.D. Vice President/Corporate College Ivy Tech Community College November 5, 2013
    30. 30. Alternative Approaches to Completing Credentials • Short-term, financial aid eligible certificates • Ivy Institutes of Technology • Pilot program to develop competency-based degree • Role of certification and cross-walking in accelerating completion
    31. 31. Certificates at Ivy Tech • 18 to 29 credits ( ¼ to ½ of an associate degree) • Federal financial aid available for eligible students • One or more certifications embedded • Technical, skills-based courses • Role of general education
    32. 32. Certificates at Ivy Tech • Always include one or more third-party certifications • • Always part of a career ladder Examples - Information Security has certificates in data security and network security - Human Services has certificates in addiction studies, elder care, direct support specialist - New general education certificate has 30 hours that transfer to all public 4-year colleges in Indiana
    33. 33. Ivy Institute of Technology Earn your Technical Certificate In 40 weeks of instruction. then $$$ Stay and earn your Associate of Applied Science degree with only a few classes left. or Go directly into the workforce.
    34. 34. How it works •Cohort-based •Five eight-week sessions •Around five hours per day in a lab •Small amount of time in classroom •Math and Communications taught in lab Math concepts learned are ones that will be used on the job.
    35. 35. Competency-Based Programs • Gates Foundation grant with Western Governors University • Starting with a Technical Certificate in Web Design, moving on to associate degree • Rolling out first courses in January 2014
    36. 36. Why is Professional Certification Important? • Certifications are portable and stay with the individual. Once certified, the individual can use them as evidence that one has earned the professional designation. • They are industry-recognized, usually industry-specific and are known to employers in that discipline world-wide. • Issued by professional associations or governing agencies which give the certification credibility in the field. • Certifications (and professional licenses) are required for certain jobs. • Certifications often require re-certification or re-training which helps ensure currency of the credential.
    37. 37. Workforce Certification at Ivy Tech • Through partnerships with national and international testing vendors, our centers have access to over 5,000 professional certification and licensure exams • In FY 12-13, the centers administered over 42,000 certification and professional licensure exams. • Certification Crosswalk at:
    38. 38. Questions Rebecca Nickoli
    39. 39. Questions from recent NCWE session How can we make competency based education fit within parameters for financial aid? – KCTCS model of chunking modules for credit (as little as 1/2 credit) 41
    40. 40. Questions from recent NCWE session Are regional accrediting bodies a barrier to this work? …No 42
    41. 41. Questions from recent NCWE session Challenge of tracking accountability for outcomes when students get hired with credentials – Data elements/ identifiers are not comparable 43
    42. 42. Comments from recent NCWE session Several people talked about developing their own aligned curricula and/or credentials – There is an opportunity for colleges to help develop certificates/certifications with companies or endorse those credentials developed by companies (and develop and align related curriculum). 44
    43. 43. Comments from recent NCWE session Several people talked about developing their own aligned curricula and/or credentials – One college mentioned that the cost of some proprietary curriculum can be cost prohibitive. They are developing their own curriculum that aligns with an industry recognized credential. 45
    44. 44. Questions?
    45. 45. Thank You! Slides and report available at