Cedar Rapids, Iowa (March 30, 2016)-Kirkwood Community College was selected by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) to help establish national credentialing models for students, colleges and employers. The college’s work with area employers and economic development groups in this realm, led to participation in the Right Signals Initiative, funded by Lumina Foundation.
“Kirkwood has been providing workforce training for 50 years,” said Vice President of Continuing Education & Outreach Services Kim Becicka. “The partnerships we’ve established building industry credentials, makes us a valuable resource for creating a nationally recognized system.”
The current credentialing system nationwide includes degrees and certificates, professional and industry certifications, apprenticeship certificates, digital badges and other micro-credentials, and licenses to practice. The multitude of approaches can often be confusing for stakeholders as to what those credentials mean and how portable they are when workers move into different fields or even around the country.
The college will work with ACCC and 19 other community college leaders on the Right Signals Initiative. The goal is to enhance the utility of credentials, reduce costs and establish a common language describing what recipients should know and be able to do. This will more clearly articulate what a credential means and the skill mastery the credential represents. The resulting unified framework will help students, employers and other stakeholders compare the value and suitability of different types of credentials. Stakeholders can then make better informed choices about education and employment and about the hiring and promotion of workers.
“Community college is an economic development tool,” said Becicka. “It’s in our best interests to not only establish, but communicate how impactful continuing education can be in fulfilling workforce needs.”
The Right Signals Initiative is grant funded by Lumina Foundation. The foundation dedicates its efforts in postsecondary education attainment for Americans.