The Maine Community College System (MCCS) will participate in the High Value Credentials for New England (HVCNE) initiative, a project recently launched by the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) and Credential Engine with support from the Lumina Foundation.
Dedicated to creating credential transparency and revealing the credential marketplace, Credential Engine provides a common language to describe credentials, a cloud-based Registry to collect and connect credential data, and a platform to support applications that would utilize credential information.
HVCNE is the first regional effort to utilize the Registry to increase transparency about postsecondary credentials for individuals, employers, institutions and policymakers in New England. Indiana, New Jersey, Michigan, Kansas and Ohio have also launched similar initiatives to publish credentials to the Registry, recognizing its value in creating career pathways, providing comparative data to prospective students and credential competency information to employers to be used in the hiring process.
Maine is the first to participate in HVCNE, as its community colleges plan to publish digital badges to the Registry, in addition to their non-degree and associate degree credentials. MCCS has been piloting a digital badge initiative with Central Maine Community College and Eastern Maine Community College and plans to embed badges in credit programs and non-credit course offerings.
MCCS is Maine’s comprehensive two-year college system. The seven community colleges within the System serve a total of nearly 30,000 individuals each year through technical, career and transfer programs, customized training and lifelong learning.
“In order to build and sustain a strong Maine economy, more Mainers will need to hold a credential of value to meet the changing needs of the workforce,” said MCCS Chief Academic Officer Janet Sortor. “Maine’s community colleges are pleased to be working with NEBHE and our sister states to help build this new credential registry which will ensure both individuals and employers are aware of the educational opportunities open to them.”
“High Value Credentials for New England will shed useful light on opportunities for residents of the region to sustain our human capital advantage and identify new credentials and credential pathways, as well as partnerships and collaboration between the higher education and business communities,” said NEBHE President & CEO Michael K. Thomas.
The Commission on Higher Education & Employability, a regional venture of NEBHE chaired by Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, recommended that New England states collaborate to support the build-out of the Registry. The Commission found that the proliferation of multiple types and sources of credentials is creating a complex environment for individuals, institutions and employers to evaluate their value.
Over the next 24 months, NEBHE will work with state higher education agencies and institutions, as well as private colleges and third-party providers to populate the Registry with credentials and data pertinent to individuals’ education and career choices, states’ attainment goals and employers’ hiring decisions.
Candace Williams is NEBHE director for strategic initiatives and special assistant to the president. Stephanie Murphy is NEBHE policy & research analyst.