Acquiring a credential can go a long way in helping those interested in finding a job or advancing in their current place of employment, especially with local Lenawee County businesses telling educational facilities exactly what skills they are seeking in their employees.
Lenawee Now’s Align Lenawee Talent Consortium (Align Lenawee) created a competency-based certificate program in response to the State of Michigan’s Marshall Plan for Talent initiative, which is intended to educate students on career opportunities available in Lenawee County and make them more desirable candidates for employment. The program was implemented through a grant by Michigan’s Talent and Economic Development Department with the intention of keeping residents local and attracting more people to the state.
Align Lenawee is a collaboration between Lenawee Now, Adrian College, Jackson College, Siena Heights University, and the Lenawee Intermediate School District, as well as local school districts and employers.
Align Lenawee and local educators worked with employers to identify key areas of focus for certifications and learning experiences to ensure the programs meet local workforce needs.
Adrian College used that information and is now offering certificate programs in Accounting, Applied Computing, Future Educators Exploration, Project Management, and Web Development. Additional certificate programs will be offered in the future.
Employers in Lenawee County have identified these topic areas as high-need for future economic development.
Adrian College Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs, Katie Rasmussen, Ph.D., said a majority of the current certificates offered are targeted at professionals to give them tools to keep up with progress in their workplace or advance into higher positions.
Rasmussen added that high school students can also get involved and get a jump start on their college education through the program. Some of the certificate programs require three classes, which equates to nine credit hours in two semesters, while others are longer.
“We’ll have some certificates that are targeted specifically to high school students, so they’ll be dual-enrolled and get a certificate, for instance in our Future Educators Exploration program,” Rasmussen said. “They would take three classes in Teacher Education, and hopefully, that would help us pipeline those students into our college. It would also give the students a taste of that career and help them decide if they want to pursue that path.”
Adrian College’s first certification classes begin this fall and Adrian College Vice President of Enrollment & Student Affairs, Frank Hribar, said the certificates are as good as gold with potential to significantly increase a person’s chances of being hired or promoted into a well-paying position. His department has already received several inquiries about the programs.
“These certificate programs allow high school students and local residents to hone their respective skills in specific industry-needed topics,” Hribar said. “These skills are vital to the growth of our local economy. Students and professionals obtaining these skills and credentials can expect a distinct advantage in the job market.”
The Talent and Economic Development Department of Michigan awarded Lenawee Now and the Align Lenawee Talent Consortium a grant totaling $788,976 to develop the competency-based certificate program.
“This program will benefit our educators and employers in Lenawee County and is a demonstration of the benefits of collaboration,” Jim Van Doren, Executive Director for Lenawee Now, said. “With all of us coming together to work toward a common purpose, we are creating and sustaining jobs here in our communities as well as increasing our pool of talented employees throughout the county.”
For more information about the certificates offered at Adrian College, visit adrian.edu.
The Align Lenawee Talent Consortium can be contacted through Lenawee Now, online at lenaweenow.org or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.