University honored for work credentialing project

The Illinois Council on Continuing Higher Education has recognized SIUE by granting its annual Innovation Award for the university’s Alternative Digital Credential Project.

Mary Ettling (shown left), director of Online and Education Outreach and Courtney Breckenridge (shown right), specialist of Alternative Credentials and Grant Development accepted the award on behalf of SIUE.

The Office of Online Services and Educational Outreach has been working in the Alternative Digital Credentials space as a place where they can help both traditional students and non-credit students identify and articulate demonstrated competencies to be competitive in the job market.

This project involved three significant, targeted stakeholders.

•             Employers who need short term training programs to prepare workers to be effective on day one in the job; and

•             State and county workforce boards who support funding and create a bridge between employers and the university; and

•             A willing academic unit that aligns with those identified jobs.

“Digital badges and related alternative or microcredentials demonstrate great promise as a strategy for closing the skills gap, and supporting the alignment of industry skills with innovative curricular offerings and applied, hands-on learning,” said Ettling. “This project will serve those dislocated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with 100 trainees anticipated to complete the program in the next two years. The training, which incorporates online learning, artificial intelligence elements and competency based in-person learning, leads to industry aligned credentials in high demand jobs.”

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