Jun 8, 2021
Stackable credential initiatives aim to build education and training pipelines in applied fields that allow individuals to earn short-term credentials and then build on them to earn additional certificates and degrees throughout their careers. In this report, the authors examined data on the expansion of short-term, stackable programs in Ohio and estimated the growth in earnings when individuals earned certificates and stacked credentials.
Stackable credential initiatives aim to build education and training pipelines in applied fields that allow individuals to earn educational certificates or other industry-recognized credentials and then build on these short-term credentials to earn additional certificates and degrees throughout their careers. Stackable credentials have the potential to provide more flexible education and training options for individuals and align better with employer needs.
Stackable credentials are a priority for Ohio and a national trend in postsecondary institutions, yet little research has been conducted on whether institutions are scaling stackable programs, how students are stacking credentials, and whether these programs benefit individuals and employers.
In this report, the authors examine Ohio's stackable credential pipelines in three fields—health care, manufacturing and engineering technology, and information technology—during the period between 2005 and 2019. They explore two areas: (1) growth in short-term education programs offered by Ohio public institutions and the degree to which programs incorporated features that characterize stackable credentials; and (2) earnings outcomes for certificate-earning students who went on to stack postsecondary education credentials.