3 May 2021
Workers See Significant Variation in the Value of Certificates across Occupations Most of the available research on short-term certificates consistently reaches one common conclusion: The value of certificate programs is highly dependent on the occupation for which the credential is preparing students. [...] One effort to narrow the scope of outcomes data to only very-short-term programs by The Institute for College Access and Success found that states often lumped together data on programs of the same field of study in calculating outcomes, regardless of the length of those programs, or collected too little information from the institution about its programs to 71 reliably identify very-short-term pr. [...] Too much of the literature on postsecondary certificates and short-term programs turns a blind eye to the equity implications of these programs, failing to identify where students of color may only see a fraction of the benefit—or no benefit—as compared with their white peers, and glossing over the systemic inequities that such programs could compound. [...] For instance, while an Urban Institute study notes significant variability in the labor-market value of short- term credentials, it deemphasizes the fact that the variance is highly stable and predictable, with almost all of the benefits of short-term credentials accruing to men or workers in male-dominated occupations. [...] Greater study is needed into the variation in enrollment in short-term programs by race/ethnicity and gender, the selection of programs that lead to low-wage jobs, and the labor-market value of credentials from those programs.