“This tool kit is organized into sections on topics of importance to colleges considering a stackable credentials approach. Each section provides information, hyperlinks to online tools, and suggestions on how to use them” (p. 4). Topics include: employer engagement, curriculum design practices, ideas for supporting student completion, and suggestions for sustainability.

“The approach by community and technical colleges of embedding ‘stackable’ certificates aligned to industry certifications within associate degrees has emerged in recent years as a practical way of helping students progress along the education continuum while earning credentials with labor market value. By organizing programs into a series of certificates that build on each other, colleges can offer incremental milestones on the path to associate degree completion. Stackable certificates are intended to represent exit and entry points designed to maximize skill acquisition, employability, and seamless transition to careers. Ideally, learners can exit a program for full-time employment and resume where they left off when they’re ready to pursue the next level of credential or degree attainment, or leverage their newly earned credential to secure an entry-level position in their chosen career field while continuing their education part-time” (p.1).

For this toolkit, “the [authors] interviewed faculty and staff from nine community and technical colleges that had been offering stackable credentials for several years….The[se] study colleges helped inform…[technical assistance] services and provided myriad examples from which other colleges can learn and benefit. Case studies of six of the nine colleges appear in the appendix….[T]he nine study colleges [plus an additional]…13…[community] colleges—provided the ‘ideas from the field’ that appear throughout this tool kit” (p.2).

(Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)