The Edge: Missed opportunities in nondegree credentials (The Chronicle of Higher Education)

February 1, 2024

The untapped possibilities of nondegree credentials

Employers have a strong interest in partnering with colleges to design and deliver nondegree programs. Yet more than 45 percent of employers in a recent survey said colleges had never approached them to do so. That’s one finding from a new report by UPCEA, the online and professional education association, and Collegis, a private consulting company. The share of employers that partner with external parties to provide employee training and professional development increased from 54 percent in 2022 to 68 percent in 2023, the survey found. But colleges were losing ground to private providers. Employers that did work with colleges said they valued the quality of their content and their reputation. Among the barriers employers reported in working with colleges, the most cited was cost.

Another UPCEA report on alternative credentials, released last month, noted that many colleges see employers as strategic partners and consumers of their nondegree offerings. But colleges often lack a coordinated strategy for employer outreach, the report states. It outlines how many institutions were taking what seemed to be scattershot approaches to marketing and pricing their alternative-credential programs.

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