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Introduction

 

New Front Door/ Carolina Stackable Certificates

 

Educating more adults, people 21 or over who lack college degrees, has to be at the top of South Carolina’s agenda for achieving competitiveness in today’s knowledge economy. Even if South Carolina were to somehow immediately increase its high school graduation, college-going, and college graduation rates (two and four year) to the highest levels in the country, we would still be 112,000 degrees short of economically competitive education levels in 2025.

 

What about doing something for the more than a million people in South Carolina who are between the ages of 25-54 (peak working years) and who lack the college education—degree or certificate--that is needed for today’s high wage jobs?

 

Colleges and universities do have many programs to support non-traditional students, but we need to reach much more of the potential audience. How?

 

Recognize that our target adult audience may lack confidence in their abilities, are usually working or have family responsibilities or both, finding the time for traditional class work a big challenge, lacking college education, and often unwilling to take the risk to go to college, build a systemof certificates “Stackable Certificates” that:

 

1) Provide credit for relevant existing knowledge and abilities;

2) Are no-fail;

3) Are flexibly scheduled;

4) Are low or no-cost; and

5) Include content of relevance to people in today’s workplace.

 

Build a systemof certificates “Stackable Certificates”

South Carolina is creating/building a “Stackable Certificates” /“Knowledge Network” system that ties literacy, adult education, workforce training, and college preparation into a coherent whole and offers students an integrated transcript that provides a visual “You Are Here” map of not only where they’ve been but where they could go.

 

·        The South Carolina Knowledge Network (SC-KN™) Concept:

Instead of considering opportunities for adults from the providers’ points of view, it looks at the system from the perspective of the learner. So, rather than confronting a plethora of apparently unconnected sources and programs, all the learner needs to know is that he or she is in the network. Once there—whatever portal is chosen—paths to education and training will be clearly spelled out. To simplify, each learner will have a visual, continuously updated “You Are Here” map of status and options. This map will build on assessment and achievement data stored in a database maintained by SC-KN™ members.

All members of SC-KN have Network Portal status. Network Portals provide:

1)     Assistance in using the  full directory of network services, including education and training;

2)  Assistance in locating information on financial aid.