Individuals who earned short-term postsecondary certificates in the Health Professions Pathway (H2P) initiative often continued their education, pursuing longer-term certificates and associate degrees, found a study of H2P, which brought together community colleges, community agencies and employers through a Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant.
An Inside Higher Ed review of the research found that students who earned even the shortest-term credentials were more likely to be employed. However, these short-term credentials had minimal and—in some cases—negative wage impacts. Racial and ethnic gaps were also a concern, with Latino and African-American students under-represented in longer-term programs.
These findings show both the promise and the challenge of stackable credentials, which must be carefully designed to maximize employment and wage benefits at entry levels and facilitate transition to higher-level credentials.