Industry Insights

Valuable insights from UPCEA's trusted corporate partners.

Getting the Attention of Employers to Scale Your Microcredential Program

We read almost daily about the need for upskilling and reskilling the workforce and the opportunity for higher education institutions to provide training through microcredential programs. While a recent survey by Collegis Education and UPCEA confirms this need, the fact is many colleges and universities who offer microcredentials have realized only meager enrollments. For microcredential programs to succeed, aligning with regional workforce needs is critical — and institutions can grab the attention of employers and grow their programs at scale through corporate partnerships

Rethink the way you are communicating to the market to get the attention of employers and drive success:

  • Think Like a Businessperson: Use proven sales strategies for selling your courses and programs. Colleges and universities need to sell these short-format courses or programs to employers, so think of the courses/programs as your product. Selling this product requires marketing, relationship building, and communicating how the product can add value to the employer and their employees.
  • Address the Needs of the Customer: Higher education has been shy to adopt a consumer-focused mindset; but in this context, employers are the buyer and their employees are the end customer. Make sure your buyer receives attentive engagement and products that meet their needs while making sure you provide end customers with intuitive user interfaces (web sites, portals, information access) and timely support.
  • Speak Business Language: Communications between industry and academia can be challenging due to vastly different styles of communication. Increase the likelihood of successful engagement through concise marketing materials, communications and interactions free from academic jargon, and clear evidence your program is the right option for solving a business problem.
  • Build Relationships with Decision Makers: In many industries, individual departments are responsible for allocating the training budgets and determining funding for upskilling and reskilling employees. Identify and build a relationship with the individual(s) empowered to fund the training, including department directors and vice presidents.
  • Ask Your Senior Leadership Who They Know: Presidents, provosts, deans, board members and other institutional leaders typically have strong connections with business leaders in your region. Ask them to make introductions to companies that may be seeking a training partner. Their relationships can provide a foothold for building a partnership with that employer.

Learn More About Employers and Their Preferences

These strategies can help you approach employers in your region and begin building a foundation for scalable enrollment growth. For more details on employer preferences and primary considerations for collaborating with an institution, read Collegis Education and UPCEA’s infographic.

By Dr. Tracy Chapman, Chief Academic Officer at Collegis Education 

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