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Projects & Initiatives

Degree & Certification Connections

APLU, the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities, Workcred, an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) affiliate, and the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) have partnered to explore how universities and credentialing bodies can improve student success and workforce outcomes by reducing the time and cost gaps between a 4-year degree and post-graduate credentials.

In the U.S., nearly 11.2 million adults who have a high school diploma or less also hold a professional certification or license. Yet there is often a lack of awareness of how certifications can be used to achieve better educational outcomes for graduates of four-year universities. With support from the Lumina Foundation, APLU, the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities, Workcred, and the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UCPEA) will host a series of convenings throughout the U.S.—which will include experts representing higher education institutions and accredited certification bodies—to fulfill the following objectives: 

  • Forge relationships between higher educational institutions and credentialing bodies and facilitate information exchange at several sessions convened by the collaborative; 
  • Enhance transparency through information exchanges and reporting so the requirements and value of both degrees and certifications are respected by industry and employers; and 
  • Summarize the key findings and themes in a framework that can be used for pilot programs seeking to align efforts across institutions. 

At APLU, this project is facilitated through APLU's Office of Economic Development and Community Engagement and the Office of Urban Initiatives. Are you interested in having your institution participate in this project? Convenings will be organized based on sectors and in varying regions. Interest should be directed to Shalin Jyotishi and Andrea Rodriguez.