Moving from a Degree-Centric Postsecondary System to an Incremental Credentialing System: What Happens to Learners’ Financing Options?

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Incremental Credentialing Framework

Playbook Sections

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Learn As You Go


Learn As You Go


  • Skills development targets specific areas of employability.
  • Entry-level skills for an academic program and/or employment.
  • Skill development builds on existing skills.
  • Prior learning is tied to new learning.


  • Training for specific entry-level or more advanced skills (e.g., customer service, management, manufacturing).
  • Employer-sponsored upskilling programs for specific skills (e.g., Amazon upskill programs in robotics and IT, GUILD).
  • Skills development for employability (e.g., computer skills, writing skills, math skills).
  • Learning and development programs developed by employers to skill employees (e.g., Apple, IBM, Google, Marriott International).
  • Industry training offered by industry associations (e.g., SHRM, AHLA, OSHA).
  • Skills training, MOOCs, or credentials offered by e-learning platforms (e.g., Coursera, Edx, Udemy).
  • Skills build on prior learning.

Things to Consider

  • Skills Mapping
    • Which skills are needed for key employment opportunities?
    • Which skills are needed for work advancements?
    • Which skills are already being taught in academic programs (non-credit and credit)?
  • How do prior skills fit into reskilling and upskilling?

Why Use This Strategy

  • Helps learners develop new skills and expand existing ones.
  • Gives learners entry points into academic programs.
  • May speed entry into employment or enhance upward mobility within it.

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Improving Education and Employment Outcomes