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How Community Colleges Can Unlock Opportunities with Digital Credentials


Community colleges are a critical player in higher education, serving nearly half of undergraduates in the U.S. With more students than ever before enrolling in community college--In 2014, 42% of all and 25% of full-time undergraduate students were enrolled in community colleges--it’s important for them to provide a quality education as well as build pathways between college and career.

Several community colleges are finding success nurturing those college-and-career pathways by developing relevant, hyper-local workforce development programs with digital credentialing. Here are three tips for creating a successful workforce-relevant digital credentialing program at your community college.

  • Talk to local employers. Planning a program in a vacuum without input from those doing the hiring won’t net you the results you want. Connect with local employers and talk to them about the types of jobs they are hiring for and the specific skills needed to fill the roles. Ask them what competencies they feel are lacking in the current talent pool.

  • Align with skill gaps in your local community. Once you learn what’s missing, develop credentials at your college for what employers need. Madison School of Professional & Continuing Education worked in collaboration with businesses in Madison, Wisconsin, to define badges specifically aligned with skill gaps in the local workforce. After learning that a local beer brewing company was looking for workers with specific skills, the college created digital credentials to accompany a craft brewing certification.

  • Create credentials relevant to your local community. After Colorado Community College Systems conducted an extensive needs-analysis with local employers and employment experts, they mapped those skills to stackable, digital badges. This enabled students to be recognized for specific, relevant skills that could help them stand out as qualified job candidates.

Learn more about developing a successful, workforce-relevant digital credentialing program at your community college by filling out the form below.