Advancing Credentials


The increasing awareness of the value of career pathways supported by recent legislation provides fertile ground for employers with common challenges to work in partnership with community colleges to develop programs that address their collective workforce development needs. Designing certificates that can be stacked toward the completion of a degree provides 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 stackable certificates, offered through flexible delivery systems that provide options for working students and result in multiple exit points aligned to industry-validated credentials. A cohort of 15 colleges is currently engaged in this work, centered around three focus areas: Employer Engagement, Career Pathways Embedded with Stackable Credentials, and Non-credit to Credit Integration.

Participating colleges receive customized technical assistance (TA) virtually and in person from subject matter experts and a dedicated TA coach who helps college teams 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: