Some of the best workforce training comes in small packages. Bite-sized credentials designed for students with barriers to education and employment can open doors to otherwise difficult-to-reach jobs.

Thomas P. Miller & Associates has nearly completed a comprehensive evaluation of the federally funded “Micro-credentials: Opportunity Through Stackable Achievements” project for the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry. The three-year endeavor ranges throughout the state with seven partnerships between workforce development boards and community colleges.

The partnerships chose high-demand industries and worked with industry partners to develop focused, stackable, bite-sized credentials to increase employability of the program’s students. The micro-credentials, many of which embed critical soft skills into the training, were developed to make it easier for students to enroll, persist and complete training. Students were motivated through more holistic support services, short-term credentialing and more frequent contact with potential employers through means such as work-based experiences and mock interviews.

Thomas P. Miller & Associate’s rigorous evaluation included tracking of grant implementation and a curriculum analysis, and regular update calls, site visits and surveys. Data collection engaged upward of 50 people at each partnership, from college presidents to students and industry leaders.

The evaluation also examined program outcome and cost data. Changes to student wages and employment were measured, and cost evaluations addressed effectiveness, investment and allocation. At all points the evaluation was structured to help the partnerships truly measure the program’s value and impact on their students and communities.

Leading the curriculum study within the implementation evaluation was Next Step Associates, located in Philadelphia. The Indiana Statistical Consulting Center at Indiana University assisted in analyzing wage and employment outcomes.

With higher education evolving, and evaluation becoming more important to assess the effectiveness of your work, it’s imperative to include a partner that understands the contexts and shifting environments as well as how to evaluate those pieces in a rigorous and meaningful way for you. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us.