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Incremental Learning, Monumental Change: Bay Path Builds Credential Learning Program

“Innovative, career-based education that helps women thrive, professionally and personally, is our mission,” said Bay Path University President Sandra J. Doran.

In January, Bay Path’s commitment to increasing access to career-based learning opportunities for women was strengthened by a $299,810 grant award from the Strada Education Network and selection into the national Credential As You Go initiative.

Through the Strada grant, the University embarked on the preliminary phase of building and staffing Bay Path’s earn-learn program. The earn-learn approach is designed to enable working adults to take courses in skills that uniquely position them to continually advance in their careers.

Pulling together resources from the University, employer partners and educational platforms, Bay Path will be able to offer a comprehensive catalog of trainings and courses, laddering up to degrees, certificates, industry certifications, licenses, badges and micro-credentials that can be earned over the course of a learner’s entire career.

Through Credential As You Go, Bay Path joins a cohort of 26 institutions of higher education and two certifying organizations that were selected from more than HOW MANY to help build a framework of incremental credentialing, which marks an important and necessary redesign of the American higher education system.

The new framework looks to “unbundle” the notion of a traditional degree, presenting alternative on- and off-ramps to education and enabling learners to build on their skill sets and advance in their professions in a way that’s affordable, relevant and specific to each learner’s goals.

A poll conducted last year by the Wall Street Journal and the University of Chicago-based research group NORC, formerly known as the National Opinion Research Center, found that more than half of Americans think a four-year university degree is not worth the cost.

“This developing model has the potential to address equity issues that have long plagued traditional higher ed and really inhibited people’s ability to get ahead,” said Jeremy Anderson, vice president for Learning, Innovation, Analytics, and Technology at Bay Path. “Shorter, alternative credentials offer a more affordable, faster path to good-paying jobs and can be a continual resource, as people’s work lives can now last 60 years. To help people consistently upskill and reskill, we can’t saddle them with large amounts of debt.” 

 “We know the power that education has to transform women’s lives, and too often, it is not available to those for whom it could be most transformational. Today’s employers and employees need a model that is responsive, accessible and relevant to both their short- and long-term objectives,” said President Doran. “We passionately believe in the potential of these new models to create more opportunities for more learners, and we have amazing partners who share this vision.”