Bridging the skills gap and the rise of the short-term certificate: A case study of a short-term manufacturing certificate at a mid-size comprehensive community college

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Ahedo, Valentina
Iowa State University
Community College; Manufacturing; Performance Based Funding; Short term Certificates; Skills Gap; Student Support Services
thesis / dissertation description
The recent resurgence of Performance Based Funding (PBF) in higher education has called for increased accountability to taxpayers for institutions receiving public State funds. The increase of short-term credentials/certificates has been cited as a by-product of the accountability movement that started in the late 1970s and is now known as PBF 2.0.Recently a Midwest state adopted PBF for its technical college system. With end results mainly focused on completion, employment, and meeting industry’s needs for skilled workers, there has been an interest in understanding how PBF is shaping public Institutions of Higher Education’s response to this call for accountability. While there have been several general state-level observation studies conducted on this question, and success results have been mixed, there have been few institution-level studies conducted on how individual institutions are responding to PBF.These general findings indicate nationwide that IHE’s are finding ways to address accountability measures. In particular, there has been an increase in the number short-term certificates, especially those that have been developed to bridge students from remedial/basic/ESL education to credit- or program-based learning. This study examines this trend and investigates how a mid-size comprehensive community college is responding to these new accountability measures through the use of short-term certificates bridging basic and credit-based education. Seeking to learn more about the motivation on part of students, faculty and administrators to participate in such programming, each of these groups is surveyed and results analyzed around the offering of a short-term bridge certificate program in manufacturing.