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Is it time to upskill yourself?

Posted: August 27, 2020 — In recent months, our lives have changed dramatically. Many employees are engaging in a different work environment due to the impact of COVID-19.  Many people are unemployed during this time.  And, many individuals are reflecting on their current careers and professions as the country is reopening.  If you are searching for a new job or career change, the available jobs may look a little different and are asking for more specialized skills from a new hire.

A report conducted by Northeastern University (Educational Credentials Come of Age, A survey on the use and value of educational credentials in hiring) identified 64% of Human Resource leaders believe that the need for continuous lifelong learning will demand more credentials. Micro-credentials and digital badges are direct evidence of skills that are learned through a collection of courses that meet specific learning. A micro-credential is a compact digital badge that verifies the achievement of in-demand skills and competencies.

Digital badges are clickable icons and contain information such as the issuing institution, the date earned, the criteria required to earn the badge and the evidence that shows you have met the required criteria.  Recipients can showcase their skills easily through social media platforms, such as LinkedIn.

Micro-credentials also open up a new flexible pathway to earning a college degree, especially for non-traditional or adult students.  A non-traditional student may want to enter the workforce, gain some experiences, complete a micro-credential, and maybe get a degree while still maintaining their place in the workforce.  As a non-traditional student, the path to completing a degree is typically a wiggly line, not a straight line.  Micro-credentials can help these students earn specified skills through a digital badge while completing a college degree.

Digital badges have portability. Meaning the micro-credential has value locally, nationally, and internationally in labor markets. Human Resource leaders value micro-credentials as signals of continuing education beyond a degree and show a candidate’s commitment to gaining pivoting skills.

HR Administrator reflections about micro-credentials (Educational Credentials Come of Age, A survey on the use and value of educational credentials in hiring):

  • “I found that a candidate with the micro-credential had a sharper focus on the job issues at hand than did the regular degreed candidates because their training had been short and intended to meet a specific goal.”
  • Micro-credentials when “added to other credentials such as continuing education, years of experience and recommendations can push one candidate above another for consideration.”

FM offers the following micro-credential badges for current students or community members who are interested in gaining specialized skills:

  • Accounting & Finance – Level I
  • Advanced Account & Finance – Level II
  • American Policing
  • Chemical Abuse Counseling
  • Compassionate Communication and Action
  • Correctional Services
  • Homeland Security
  • Human Services
  • Judicial Process
  • Law Enforcement
  • Medical Coding
  • Medical Office
  • Multiculturalism and Diversity
  • Private Sector Security
  • Psychology of Criminal Behavior
  • Society and Human Rights
  • Sociology of Crime
  • Victim Studies
  • Youthful Offenders

FM’s badges are a great option to upskill yourself.  They provide a way to showcase your new abilities and learned concepts. Jean Marie Reinke is FM’s Director of Employment Services and Individualized Learning.  As the contact for micro-credentials, please reach out to her to learn more about FM’s digital badges: 518-736-3622 ext. 8931   or   Jeanmarie.reinke@fmcc.suny.edu.

This article was written by Jacqueline Snyder, Ed.D. Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Fulton-Montgomery Community College.

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