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Credit and Non-Credit Programs

Noncredit Enrollment in Workforce Education:
State Policies and Community College Practices

Many community colleges now enroll more noncredit than credit students. As noncredit education – particularly in workforce fields – has grown, states and community colleges should re-examine their policies and practices, to be sure that colleges continue to meet the needs of their local employers and students. The Community College Research Center, in collaboration with the National Council for Workforce Education (NCWE) and the National Council for Continuing Education and Training (NCCET), conducted a study on workforce education and contract training in community colleges nationwide. They examined noncredit program roles, structure, and outcomes. They developed five key recommendations for states and colleges that will help strengthen noncredit workforce education.

American Association of Community Colleges, 2008
Michelle Van Noy, James Jacobs, Suzanne Korey, Thomas Bailey, and Katherine L. Hughes

Certificates: Gateway to Employment and College Degrees

This report found that the number of certificates awarded has skyrocketed more than 800 percent over the past 30 years. In 1984, less than 2 percent of adults 18 and older had a certificate as their highest educational attainment; by 2009 the percentage had grown to almost 12 percent. Today, certificates make up 22 percent of all college awards, up from 6 percent in 1980. On average, certificate holders earn 20 percent more than high school graduates without any postsecondary education. On average, a certificate holder who works in field earns nearly as much as the median Associate’s degree holder—only 4 percent less. On the other hand, the median certificate holder who works out of field earns only 1 percent more than a high school-educated worker. While certificates are generally a good investment, paying off in the long run for most who earn them, the study found that those earnings aren’t evenly distributed. Men get much more value than women do from a certificate. And certificate-holders fare better in certain fields, like computing, which men dominate.

Georgetown University Center for Education and the Workforce (2011)
Anthony P. Carnevale, Stephen J. Rose, Andrew R. Hanson

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due:
Creating a Competency-Based Qualifications Framework for Postsecondary Education and Training

There is a disconnect between the nation's postsecondary and education and training systems that can get in the way of students earning postsecondary credentials. An adult can acquire noncredit, high quality education and training to become more marketable in a particular field. But if that same person later chooses to pursue a postsecondary credential, he may have to repeat some of the education and training he already obtained. This is because the postsecondary education system lacks a standard method for determining the value of occupational education and training that takes place outside postsecondary institutions.

This disconnect suggests a gaping hole in education policy, as well as in employment and training policy. The challenge for the nation is to devise a competency-based framework within which states and institutions can award educational credit for skills and learning mastered through formal and informal occupational education and training.

Center for Law and Social Policy (2011)
Evelyn Ganzglass, Keith Bird, and Heath Prince

The Role of Community College Education in the Employment of Information Technology Workers in Washington State

Understanding the role of subbaccalaureate programs in preparing students for the workforce has become increasingly important, particularly in quickly changing fields that require well-trained technical workers, such as information technology (IT). To better understand the role of community colleges in educating IT workers, we examined two key issues: (1) students' employment outcomes by the type of community college IT preparation they complete, and (2) the type of employers that tend to hire community college IT students. Specifically, we analyzed data on students who were enrolled in an IT program at any Washington State community and technical college during the 2000-01 academic year and who completed their program or left college by the spring of the 2004-05 academic year. We examined information on students' course-taking in college and their employment before, during, and after their college enrollment.

Community College Research Center
Michelle Van Noy and Madeline Weiss

Allied Health Scan: San Francisco Bay Area

The San Francisco Bay and Greater Silicon Valley Centers of Excellence in collaboration with research and funding partners studied allied health occupations in the 11-county San Francisco Bay Area. The healthcare sector is one of the largest industries in the region, employing over 342,000 individuals in hundreds of occupations. This report provides an industry overview and reviews trends driving the growth of the healthcare sector such as population growth, an aging population and healthcare reform legislation.

Center of Excellence: San Francisco Bay Area

Photos Courtesy of North Dakota State College of Science and Alvin Community College

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