How Certificate and Certification Programs Can Strengthen an Institution’s Corporate Relationships
Workforce alignment is a trending topic for today’s leading higher education institutions. To stay competitive and attract learners from all walks—including the open and corporate markets—colleges and universities are reworking their curricula to focus on delivering students the skills they actually need to succeed in the workforce.
Instead of only focusing on conferring degrees, institutions are developing innovative, market-friendly credentials such as certificates and certifications that are more appealing to employers. By fostering corporate partners, institutions can open themselves up to a whole new (and lucrative) market. Certificates and certifications, which are faster and less expensive than degrees, appeal to corporations looking to improve their employees’ skill sets for a number of reasons. Outlined below are three of them:
1. Corporations need just-in time learning
Corporations often do not have the time or the resources to put their employees through full degree programs. Workforce needs change rapidly and industry leaders look for training programs that get their people the skills they need when they are needed. Certificate and certification programs can be customized to meet the requirements of corporations with agility that degree programs simply do not have.
Here is what one higher education administrator had to say about the importance of time-sensitive credentialing:
"Since the downturn in 2008, job growth has been slow to return. But the primary drivers
of job growth have been small- to medium-sized growth companies. … This creates new
opportunities for corporate and professional learning providers as budgets in traditional,
slower-growth businesses and the public sector remain tight. Yet these companies have
different needs driven by a higher percentage of millennials in the workforce, smaller
budgets and more just-in-time training needs."
—Chris Proulx, Former Chief Executive Officer, eCornell
2. Corporations need programming that helps their employees succeed
Corporations are used to making business-minded decisions and will opt for the training programs that deliver the best return on investment. Colleges and universities are not the only players in the corporate training space, but institutions that are able to successfully develop outcomes-based programming tailored to the specific needs of a corporate partner are likely to develop and maintain lasting and lucrative learning relationships with employers.
Here is what one higher education administrator had to say about developing relevant programming:
"It’s incumbent upon higher education to reach out and partner with organizations
as opposed to “build-it-and-they-will-come” syndrome … We’re at an inflection point
for higher education if they want to see their business increase as to what changes
they might need to make ultimately to cater to the customer."
—Dan Pontefract, Senior Director of Learning and Collaboration, TELUS
3. Corporations need training to quell labor and skills shortages
Employers are not confident that degrees give employees the skills they need to succeed in the workforce. Forward-thinking institutions see this as a huge opportunity to address these concerns. By keeping an eye on the state of the labor market, institutions can create certificate and certification programs that help address workforce shortages and skills gaps.
Here is what one higher education administrator had to say about the demand for workforce readiness programs:
"High-quality, non-degree programming is only going to become more vital in the future.
America’s workforce is at a critical juncture since some jobs are being left vacant
in the absence of skilled workers to fill them. Too many of our workers do not have
the skills required to meet labor challenges of the 21st century. We must 'upskill'
entry-level workers to fill these shortages. Our long-term commitment must be to develop
a workforce able to meet critical workforce shortages and respond to the performance
requirements of highly technical jobs."
—Karen LaMarsh, Director of Professional Development and Training, Clayton State University
Last updated: February 1, 2021