Opinion
College & Workforce Readiness Letter to the Editor

Wash. State Colleges Well Aware of Value of ‘Stacking’ Certificates

December 02, 2014 1 min read

To the Editor:

“Payoff Found to Be Slim for Short-Term Certificates From Community Colleges” included good, balanced quotes about the value of short-term certificates.

The Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, where I work, would also like to add its perspective since the blog post focused on a study that used data from Washington state, “Labor Market Returns to Sub-Baccalaureate Credentials: How Much Does a Community College Degree or Certificate Pay?”

The study only tracked students who entered community college between 2001 and 2002. Times have changed.

Today, Washington state’s community and technical colleges offer the very solution the study’s author recommends: short-term certificates that “stack" on top of each other, like building blocks, to form longer certificates or degrees.

Each level of skills serves as a foundation for the next level. With short-term certificates, current professionals stay on top of changes and innovations within their fields, while job-seekers learn beginning skill sets that lead to further education. And many certificates, such as Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining, lead immediately to good wages.

Short-term certificates are an important first step; colleges are making sure they’re not the last.

Marty Brown

Executive Director

Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges

Olympia, Wash.

A version of this article appeared in the December 03, 2014 edition of Education Week as Wash. State Colleges Well Aware Of Value of ‘Stacking’ Certificates

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