Why We’re Committed
The University of Maine System (UMS) and the Maine Community College System (MCCS), together with the New England Board of Higher Education and Credential Engine and through a grant from the Lumina Foundation, are providing Mainers with transparent, comparable information about credentials available in the state. Through the partnership, UMS and MCCS have published over 450 credentials to the Credential Registry. The information, which has been mapped to the Credential Transparency Description Language (CTDL), is helping state leaders identify education and employment pipelines, improve credential portability across state lines, and pinpoint gaps in educational and training programs. Leaders in Maine saw the value of making it easier for all residents to discover information that can lead to better jobs, a better-trained workforce, and more informed decision-making. The result is a transparent, uniform system that allows credential-seekers, employers, education and training providers, and others to retrieve key information more efficiently.
Reaping the Benefits of a Common Registry and a Common Language
Maine was the first state to join the High Value Credentials for New England initiative launched by the New England Board of Higher Education in May 2018. The goal was not only to give every state in the region access to information in the Registry but to standardize the language New Englanders used to describe high-value credentials through the CTDL.
In Maine, all UMS campuses and MCCS colleges initially published credentials in four identified industry sectors: health, life and bio-sciences, business/finance, and information technology. Today, six out of seven UMS institutions have published to the Registry, and the system is adding information on tourism, hospitality, recreation, and education.
In 2019, MCCS expanded its publishing to the Registry to include its remaining programs and its competencies. As a result, the system has derived multiple benefits of using a single Registry and common language, including:
- The transparency ensures that MCCS reaches opportunity-seekers beyond local communities to share information on the system’s residential colleges.
- The ability to communicate new and unique programs to opportunity-seekers throughout the New England region.
- Increased access to opportunities for people in more remote areas of northern New England, where there can be limited options for those who want to pursue a credential in their communities.
- Attracting credential-seekers from outside of Maine to enroll in MCCS programs and colleges— and remain in the state after completion.
- Providing transparent information about the cost of MCCS’s programs, which are highly affordable.
- The opportunity to earn stackable credentials, which increases options for advancement and higher pay in the workforce.
- Assisting the efforts of a small state to boost its population for socio-economic advancement.
Aligning Education and Workforce Strategies to Boost Credential Attainment
In the future, leaders in Maine also hope to publish information from private institutions and non-postsecondary programs to the Registry. Another of Maine’s priorities is to be a leader in the emerging micro-credentialing field by creating opportunities for learners to demonstrate related skills and competencies to employers through badging, microcredentials, and degree programs. Additionally, the state aims to increase the visibility and comparability of credential programs in key fields. Part of that plan includes helping secondary education leaders and leaders at the system and institution levels understand the importance of the Registry and CTDL in communicating information about credentials to all Mainers.
The collaboration with Credential Engine signals Maine’s commitment to connecting its residents with educational opportunities and economic mobility, and providing regional employers with the tools to ensure that its workforce has opportunities to learn and grow in a changing economy.
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