Study: Race, earnings gaps present in stackable credential programs
- A new study reveals that stackable credential programs among a consortium of community colleges are helping students to advance into professional careers and continuing education, but could be limiting earning potential for some students, Inside Higher Ed reports.
- Students earning healthcare certificates in a professional pathways initiative are persisting in earning credits beyond credential requirements and finding jobs. But certificates requiring 12 credit hours or less for completion were capping opportunities for nursing assistants and community health advocates to earn raises.
- Additionally, white and Asian students were 10% more likely than African American and Hispanic to earn higher-level professional certificates or an associates degree.
It is important for colleges and universities to recognize two critical factors in workforce development programming: the labor market in the region surrounding the campus dictates the need and volume of qualified workers that colleges can provide, and the factors which contribute to ethnic minorities exiting educational programs earlier than they should.
If students are beginning to flood a marketplace in a certain industry, or are using the credentialing element to disengage from higher learning to address financial needs, then colleges should be willing to use intrusive mentoring and retention counseling to figure out how to best identify and address these factors. Just as resources are used to offer specific support to low-income students in baccalaureate settings, the same is true for professional development programs.
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