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Research Round-up: Lost Associate Degrees, Manufacturing Certification Survey, Millennials in Crisis

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November 13, 2013

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Research Round-up: Lost Associate Degrees, Manufacturing Certification Survey, Millennials in Crisis

Today we bring you a round-up of recent publications that focus on credential attainment and upskilling.

First, a recently released report describes results from Project Win-Win, in which 61 associate-degree-granting schools in nine states committed to finding former students who qualified for an associate degree but had not received it, and awarding those degrees. They also sought out former students who were close to completing an associate degree and attempted to bring them back to school. Of 6,733 people eligible for an associate degree from the participating institutions, 4,550 received those degrees; Of 20,105 people within striking distance of an associate degree, only about 2,000 had returned to school or indicated their intention to return.

Several policy barriers impacted the results, including policies that require students to opt-in for degree completion. The report recommends:

  • creating opt-out policies for degree completion, in which students with the appropriate credits have to explicitly decline to receive degrees
  • developing an inclusive definition of college-level math to help potential completers finish
  • helping students see how completing their associate degree could fit with their other responsibilities

In other news, according to a recent biannual brief from the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council, MSSC gave 7,825 assessments for Certified Production Technicians and Certified Logistics Technicians in the first half of 2013. A survey of certification earners found the following: 

  • Half of certification earners who had been unemployed had located employment, 58 percent of those within three months of certification.
  • 27 percent of incumbent workers who earned certifications received an employer incentive, most commonly a pay increase.
  • 90 percent or more of certification earners reported feeling more confident, having a better understanding of their work functions and being more prepared and adaptable.

Finally, a report from the Center for American Progress outlines six key economic challenges facing the Millennial generation, including creating and promoting good jobs, making college affordable, easing student debt burdens, expanding access to postsecondary education and improving retirement security. The publication recommends expanding apprenticeship in high-growth fields.

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