ROCKLAND COUNTY, N.Y. (December 23, 2021) – Rockland Community College has announced a new microcredentialing initiative to help students distinguish themselves in a competitive marketplace. Microcredentials fully leverage workforce capabilities with highly marketable skills by gaining specific knowledge in emerging fields and promoting professional growth for students in a new distance economy. They are aligned with high demand industry areas to help employers navigate digital transformation and identify a new way of doing business while closing the skills gap. Microcredentials and skills badges are used by students to up-skill for better career opportunities or stack toward a degree for better marketability.
At present, credit bearing microcredentials are offered in RCC’s Hospitality and Culinary Arts program, Front Office Management program, IT Support Professional program, and the Fitness Trainer and Sports Nutritional Specialist programs.
“This initiative is about meeting the needs of our students, our employers, and ultimately supporting the economic development of our society,” says Dr. Michael A. Baston, President of Rockland Community College. “We are closing the skills gap for students and employers, and our programs provide students with employability skills and credentials to become competitive in their job search in the current economic climate.”
An Incremental Credentialing Model was developed through an 18-month planning, research, and testing project support in 2019-2021 through a Lumina Foundation grant: Credential As You Go (CAYG). The National Advisory Board comprised of leaders from all sectors in the credentialing space includes Dr. Susan Deer, Provost and Executive Vice President. “Microcredentials will give students the skills they need today and the ability to use those microcredentials to build into a degree for tomorrow. We offer courses in different formats so students can achieve their goals.” RCC offers courses online, in-person, full semester, and flex start (8 week) sessions.
In the Hospitality and Culinary Arts Program, students take a set of three to four college courses to earn a microcredential and digital badge for Baking Fundamentals, Baking Specialization or Food Preparation. A ServSafe certification, accredited by the National Restaurant Association, is required for the culinary microcredentials, and is offered at the College as well.
“Employers are contacting us daily to find employees with these specific skills because the demand is so high,” says Chris Spezial, Program Director of the Hospitality and Culinary Arts Program.
The Front Office Management microcredential prepares emerging managers to handle the new norms of the workforce. The courses to earn the microcredential are offered fully online to meet the student at their lifestyle. Students can stack the microcredential and earn a business degree in 24, 18, or 12 months.
The IT Support Professional – Desktop Support prepares students for an entry-level role in IT support. Course topics include equipment installation, maintenance and management of computer hardware, operating systems, and software in home and corporate environments, along with an introduction to networking and security. Students will earn certifications in TestOut® Client Pro and TestOut PC Pro®.
Building upon the skills learned in Desktop Support, the IT Professional – Networking and Security courses include network device installation, configuration and management, security policies, network and host defense, disaster and recovery planning and vulnerability assessments. Students will earn certifications in TestOut® Network Pro and TestOut Security Pro®. Both microcredentials lead to a degree in Cyber Security at the Center For Cyber Defense Education, which is recognized by United States National Security Agency, United States Department of Homeland Security, and the Committee on National Security Systems (CNSS).
As a Fitness Trainer, individuals have the opportunity to work in commercial centers or form their own business conducting personal training sessions. Students will study how to assess clients and develop training programs to meet personal fitness goals and understand the effects of exercise on the human body.
Fitness Trainers can expand their expertise in fitness and sport to become a certified Sports Nutrition Specialist. Students will learn the importance of nutrition and exercise programs and set up nutritional goals to assist in conditioning programs. Students earn a Personal Trainer certification or Sports Nutrition certification, respectively, accredited by the National Council on Strength and Fitness.
Additionally, RCC formalized student success programs in both soft and durable skills to ensure students are prepared for the ever-evolving workplace. Registered students can take five one-hour workshops to earn a microcredential in College Essentials, Career Essentials, and Workplace Essentials.
Additional microcredentials are in development for in-demand industries. RCC plans to use digital badging and e-portfolio systems to teach students how to display their accomplishments on social media platforms.
RCC is also offering professional development opportunities for its employees through the microcredentialing programs. Currently, Advising Ambassador and Learning Management System Specialization courses are being offered.
For more information about microcredentials at RCC, visit:/academics/micro/ or contact [email protected]. Spring 2022 registration is open and the semester begins on January 22, 2022.
About Rockland Community College, State University of New York
Rockland Community College, State University of New York, offers a safe, supportive learning environment for thousands of students from diverse backgrounds who appreciate small class sizes and personal attention from a distinguished, award-winning faculty that includes Fulbright scholars and SUNY Distinguished Professors. Thanks to the school’s affordable tuition, students who begin their career journey at RCC and then transfer to a four-year college can save up to $100,000 on their education. RCC is also proud to provide career training and professional development to adult learners looking to change careers or upgrade their skills through its new Career Skills Academy. More information can be found at sunyrockland.edu.