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Increasing Millennial Interest in Alternative Credentials

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As Millennials continue taking over the workforce as the nation’s largest generation, it is important to take note of upcoming trends for this cohort of people — specifically with regards to the educational routes they each take. While it is clear that college enrollment rates are rising, with its peak being in 2010 when 70% of high school graduates enrolled in college for the graduating year, recent studies have shown that the typical college baccalaureate degree is losing its appeal. With so many Millennials attending college, the bachelor’s degree has become “the minimum requirement… for getting even the lowest-level job.” As a result, researchers have found that students, specifically those of younger generations, have sought to earn alternative credentials either in place of or in addition to the typical bachelor’s degree.

In a recent 2017 Blackboard survey, it was found that the majority of Millennials (ages 21 to 35) exhibit strong interest in earning certifications and/or badges in the future. More specifically, 72.4% of Young Millennials (ages 21 to 25), 65% of Middle Millennials (ages 26 to 30), and 66.4% of Old Millennials (ages 31 to 35) show moderate to strong interest in earning certifications and/or badges. This evidence suggests that there is increasing interest and curiosity among younger Millennials toward alternative credentials.

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