More than 30 Years of Engagement for Ohio's Public Good

Community Collaboration: Making Microcredentials

Erica Crawford, Microcredential Engagement Specialist from Miami University Regionals

The world and nature of work are changing rapidly—higher education must be able to adapt quickly. With the advent of MOOCS, microcredentials, nanodegrees, digital badges, and the like, short-term programs are having long-term impacts. By creating home-grown, short-term programs, not only can institutions help their students meet the demands of today’s workplace, but also show them the opportunities available in their own backyard.

In 2019, Miami University Regionals (MUR) began working with different companies around Butler County to better understand the changing needs of the workforce. Businesses across the county were asked to rank cognitive abilities, basic skills, and social skills, as well as list any additional skills/abilities they would like to see strengthened in their workforce. Across the board, businesses ranked communication skills (oral/written expression, speaking, writing, active listening) as some of the most desired traits. They also highlighted the immense need for employees to be socially perceptive, service orientated, creative, and willing to take risks in order to solve complex problems. With these needs in mind, MUR began its Microcredential Programs.

Today, MUR awards over 20 different Microcredentials in high-demand fields like marketing, Agile Methodology, manufacturing, database management, Spanish language, and more. As of this writing, over 600 badges have been awarded to approximately 420 students. Students are able to share these badges across digital platforms such as LinkedIn, as well as add them to their resumes.

Departments across Miami are encouraged to propose new programs. Proposals must include detailed information on learning outcomes and how these outcomes will be met. Programs are also reviewed for how they align with ONET skills, including the many soft skills listed above that employers are looking for. Finally, every proposal must include corporate or business partner faculty working within the design of these programs. In this way, we can guarantee that the skills, competencies, and abilities gained from this Microcredential meet the real-world demand of today’s workforce. In addition, this builds our campus’ engagement with the local community, develops the local workforce, and shows students what is available right here in Butler County.

At the end of this presentation, participants will be able to define “Microcredential” and describe its possible worth; understand the value of place in community building/engagement, and come away with some ideas they could bring back to their own campuses in relation to these topics.

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