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Traditionally, employers, workers and students have used academic degrees and diplomas as a proxy for the skills and knowledge needed to perform on the job. There is growing interest in the use of competency-based credentials to complement this approach; however, the current “market” for competency-based credentials is neither fully formed nor well functioning. This report features case studies of different stakeholders in different industries utilizing competency-based credentials which may be useful for further understanding and advancing the field.
Incomes, job security, and economic growth increasingly depend on postsecondary credentials with value in the labor market. While a vast number of adults in the labor market engage in noncredit occupational education and training, without common metrics or quality assurance mechanisms, they cannot translate their education and training into postsecondary credit and the value of their credentials is not clear to employers, educators, or students. Instead, this report urges for a system that assesses competency to measure learning, rather than relying on the credit four as the metric for learning. Furthermore, this report examines federal, state, and institutional efforts to better assure the quality of credentials and to bridge noncredit and credit-bearing instruction, and provides recommendations that can be taken to create a competency-based system for measuring learning.
Maryland is taking bold steps to increase the number of workers who possess a post-secondary education credential. In particular, Skills2Compete Maryland (S2C Maryland) is a campaign aimed at increasing post-secondary success to strengthen the skills of Maryland’s workforce. This report offers a summary of S2C’s history, including its strategies and processes, and provides further recommendations and actions needed to reach their goal of increasing the number of Marylanders who attain post-secondary credentials by 20 percent.
No Worker Left Behind (NWLB) was an offer by the State of Michigan from 2007-2010 of free tuition to low income and unemployed workers willing to go back to school and earn a market-relevant degree or credential. This study explored the experiences of those who enrolled in NWLB, seeking insight into how NWLB affected participants and their families. Results show that most respondents found NWLB valuable, program retention and completion rates were very high, most respondents who completed trainin
In January 2019, United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) held a six-day strike in response to challenges facing The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), resulting from LAUSD’s inability to raise local property taxes and the growing charter school sector that draws funding away from public education. The protest was largely successful, leading to a six percent pay raise for teachers, more nurses, counselors, and librarians in schools, commitments for more green space on campuses, an end to random searches of students, and more. This report examines how UTLA and Reclaim Our Schools Los Angeles (ROSLA) built and carried out the campaign that ultimately led to these changes; this case study can serve as a roadmap for other school districts, labor unions, and community organizations facing similar attacks on public education.
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, schools are tasked with providing a quality education to their students, along with ensuring their safety and welfare, regardless if classes are being held in-person or virtually. Additionally, schools must adjust to the economic ramifications brought on by the pandemic, such as revenue uncertainty due to school districts being heavily reliant on state pass through revenue and local property taxes, and the need for new expenditures, including personal protective equipment and other items to ensure social distancing. GFOA’s Fiscal First Aid program lays out a 12-step process for recovering from financial distress. This research paper expands upon these fiscal first aid strategies with additional, school-district-specific considerations for mitigating the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.