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Bay Path University forges new path with launch of education career pathway program

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Longmeadow, MA— Bay Path University has begun the process of developing a comprehensive career pathway program that will mark a new era for the institution. As the recipient of a $299,810 grant from the Strada Education Network and selection into the national Credential As You Go initiative, Bay Path is positioned to launch a groundbreaking learning framework that will increase access to career-based learning opportunities for adult women.  

Bay Path brings 24 years of experience to the development and delivery of alternative educational pathways for adult women. The University created the first online college program for adult women, The American Women’s College (TAWC) in 2013. TAWC evolved from Bay Path’s One Day A Week program, which began in 1999 and enabled adult women to earn bachelor’s degrees in an intensive, accelerated format.

“Innovative, career-based education that helps women thrive, professionally and personally, is our mission,” states Bay Path University president, Sandra Doran. “Throughout our history, we’ve been consistently building and refining educational models that drive the development of a highly skilled workforce, and the support of Strada and Credential As You Go is further validation that we do that really well. We’re ready to kick off yet another exciting chapter for Bay Path.”

The Strada grant will be applied to the preliminary phase of building and staffing Bay Path’s Earn-Learn program, which will bring together resources from the University, employer partners, and educational platforms to offer a comprehensive catalog of trainings and courses; laddering up to degrees, certificates, industry certifications, licenses, badges, and micro-credentials that are designed to 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 ed and two certifying organizations that were selected to help build a framework of incremental credentialing, which marks an important and necessary redesign of the American higher education system. 

The development of incremental crediting is a response to several factors that are rapidly reshaping higher education, including a dated, degree-centric system, which makes completing college an increasingly expensive and time-consuming endeavor for so many Americans, especially working adults. At the same time, the expansion of credentials and the rapidly changing needs of the 21st century workforce demand a more nimble, immediate way for workers and employers to access new skills.      

The framework “unbundles” education and enables employers, learners, and educators to create customized career pathways, which can be plotted and pursued over the course of a career, as learners build on their skillsets and advance in their professions in a way that’s affordable, relevant, and specific to each learner’s goals.

“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.’” says 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 also become 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.”  

Bay Path has already successfully piloted a career pathway program in cybersecurity, a project that confirmed the University’s capabilities to collaborate with alternative providers, workforce intermediaries, and employers to shape new strategies that are aligned with workforce development needs.

The Earn-Learn program is a multipronged response to ongoing questions about the value, cost and efficacy of higher education at a time of technological and social transformation, confusing pricing models, and persistent student 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,” states 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. It’s go time.”

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 About Bay Path University


Bay Path University was founded in 1897. Bay Path’s enrolled population of over 3,000 includes traditional undergraduates; adult women at The American Women's College, the first all-women, all-online accredited degree program in the country; and women and men master’s and doctoral students. Bay Path’s goal is to give students confidence in the fundamentals of their chosen field, the curiosity to question the ordinary, the leadership to show initiative, and the desire to make a difference.