Advancing Credentials


The broad acceptance of career pathways programs supported by recent legislation provides fertile ground for employers with common challenges to work in partnership with community college educators to create curriculum structures that address their collective workforce development needs. Designing credit-bearing certificate programs that can be stacked toward the completion of a degree can offer shorter, more accessible pathways for many seeking a college credential, particularly nontraditional working students with family responsibilities.

The Advancing Credentials through Career Pathways project, led by CORD and funded by the ECMC Foundation, is a three-year initiative that challenges how community colleges work with employers in support of the design and implementation of stackable credentials.

The project advocates an environment in which actively engaged employers work in co-leadership roles with educators to design and support stackable credentials, offered through flexible delivery systems that provide options for working students and result in multiple exit points aligned to industry-validated credentials. The project leverages federal and state investments while providing funds to: support the development of a framework and discipline-agnostic tools to significantly enhance employer engagement; provide technical assistance and resources for community colleges to expand pathways resulting in stackable credentials, and help colleges establish local policies that support non-credit/credit integration.

Through the project, colleges receive customized technical assistance (TA) virtually and in person from subject matter experts and a dedicated TA coach who help colleges advance their work on project goals through action items based on local needs. Cohort colleges also benefit from networking opportunities through institutes, webinars, an online peer learning community, and site visits.

Project Resources:

Stackables Credentials Toolkit
Developed by CORD and SPR as part of Mapping Upward, an initiative of the US Dept of Education, Office of Career Technical and Adult Education

Employer Engagement Toolkit
A resource of the Advancing Credentials through Career Pathways project, funded by the ECMC Foundation

Grantees include: