X

Miami will offer ‘mini degrees’ for those seeking quick job change, advancement

Miami University officials recently unveiled their back-to-school plan, outlining in general how the university will alter itself to safely accommodate the return of more than 20,000 students to its main and regional campuses in Butler County. School officials caution some parts of the plan are tentative and dependent on new developments in the battle against the coronavirus. (File Photo/Journal-News)
Miami University officials recently unveiled their back-to-school plan, outlining in general how the university will alter itself to safely accommodate the return of more than 20,000 students to its main and regional campuses in Butler County. School officials caution some parts of the plan are tentative and dependent on new developments in the battle against the coronavirus. (File Photo/Journal-News)

Miami University’s regional schools are offering new “mini degrees” designed to speed students’ earning of credentials in order to help them advance in the work world.

The new “microcredential” program’s focused learning and certification process is especially timely as many area adults are seeing their jobs eliminated or otherwise impacted by the coronavirus’ damage to the local economy.

Microcredentials are like mini degrees that allow students to “dip their toe” into higher education while advancing their experience in a particular skill, said Kristine Smith, microcredential program manager with Miami Regionals E-Campus.

Miami is offering an initial menu of microcredential courses in a dozen business and industry in three main areas: Business, Technology and Written Communications.

ExploreMORE: Miami unveils back-to-school plan for fall semester

“Microcredentials provide options to obtain market-driven credentials with an eye toward making students more employable in less time than a traditional degree program,” said Smith. “With a focus on working adults, convenience is top priority. Learning can be accomplished online, in-person or through hybrid courses customized to meet the needs of the student or organization.”

Miami is initially offering 12 microcredentials in work skill areas of - ustomer service, writing for the workplace and writing for diverse contexts – with several more in development, said school officials.

With record numbers of Ohioans not working, the new program’s timing is advantageous, said school officials.

The total number of initial jobless claims filed in Ohio over the last 16 weeks (1,464,290) is more than the combined total of those filed during the last three years, according to the most recent figures from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

The Miami program can give job hunters an advantage, said Smith, who added students applying for the new program have already told her they are eager to complete their course work and note the Miami credentials on their resumes as they seek jobs or promotions.

ExploreMORE: Miami Hamilton grad becomes first to earn this four-year degree

“Microcredentials provide options to obtain market-driven credentials with an eye toward making students more employable in less time than a traditional degree program,” said Smith. “With a focus on working adults, convenience is top priority. Learning can be accomplished online, in-person or through hybrid courses customized to meet the needs of the student or organization.”

Dan Bates, president and CEO of the Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, is not only a fan of the new Miami program but also is working with local companies to funnel employees into the courses to improve work-place skills.

Bates said the Miami credentialing “badges” (microcredenital certifications) “are great because they can zero in on a particular skill set that is desired by an employee to further their worth or by an employer who wants to develop an employee towards accomplishing a particular skill set or goal.”

“An employer can take advantage of the credentials if an employee needs specific training for a certification or needs to improve a specific skill to move up in their company, overcoming a deficiency that may be holding them back from increasing their earning power,” said Bates.

“The credentialing program is excellent because it can fulfill specific needs customized towards a particular desired goal and they are abbreviated targeted programs that are very affordable,” he said.

Miami officials said the general application deadline for the new classes deadline for the fall semester at either Hamilton or Middletown campuses is Aug. 1.