Mid Michigan Community College is one of the 20 community colleges selected to participate in a nationwide initiative to identify and develop a model for recognizable credentialing that may be used by students, colleges and employers nationally.
Called the Right Signals initiative, it is supported by a grant from Lumina Foundation.
“Students have many avenues to achieve the skills necessary for obtaining well-paying jobs in the current economy,” explained Holly Zanville, strategy director at Lumina Foundation. “It is critical that these skills and credentials are universally recognizable to students, colleges and employers.”
The highly diverse credentialing marketplace includes educational degrees and certificates, professional and industry certifications, apprenticeship certificates, digital badges and other micro-credentials, and licenses to practice. In different ways, each of these items attests to what people know and are able to do.
The purpose of the Right Signals initiative is to demonstrate a new credentialing model that recognizes multiple quality credentials to send “the right signals” to employers, students and colleges about the meaning of these credentials. Key credentials to be targeted are degrees, certificates, industry certifications, apprenticeships and badges.
MMCC President Chris Hammond said that MMCC is pleased to participate in this important project. “Through the Right Signals project, MMCC will collaborate with other community colleges to appropriately recognize the knowledge and skills our students gain in our programs,” she said.
Some students enter the workforce with credentials obtained online and/or in-person at other colleges, the workplace, high schools, IT boot camps, the military, community-based and other organizations. Some community college students begin in a non-credit program, earning an occupational certificate or industry certification, with interest in transferring to credit-bearing courses. In short, community colleges must operate in the highly diversified and constantly adapting intersection of their students’ varied credentialing pathways.
In addition to MMCC, colleges selected to participate in the initiative are: College of Lake County (Ill.), Columbus State Community College (Ohio), Community College of Baltimore County (Md.), Eastern Iowa Community College, Gateway Community and Technical College (Ky.), Gateway Technical College (Wis.), Kirkwood Community College (Iowa), LaGuardia Community College (N.Y.), Lone Star College (Texas), Madison Area Technical College (Wis.), Metropolitan Community College (Mo.), Miami Dade College (Fla.), Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, North Central State College (Ohio), Polk State College (Fla.), Rio Salado College (Ariz.), Snead State Community College (Ala.), South Seattle College (Wash.) and South Central College (Minn.).