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micro badgeWith LinkedIn becoming the newest tool for job networking, Fayetteville Technical Community College has started a new initiative awarding microcredential digital badges to students. 

At first, students could earn a badge only in Forklift and OSHA courses, but the school is looking to expand beyond those two programs to award microcredentials for a variety of certifications including the new Cybersecurity Fundamentals (Systems Security & Analysis) badge. 

Students do not have to complete a whole degree to earn an FTCC digital badge; they can earn as they go. Badges are awarded for completing a certain number of hours in the course or a certificate in the program.

Alex Taylor is a student in the Heroes MAKE America SkillBridge program at FTCC. “It took me about a week to receive the badges for Certified Logistics Technician and OSHA,” he said. “But the Forklift (badge) was (awarded) almost immediately upon completion of the course.”

The link to the badge on Credly is sent directly to the student’s email. The student then simply has to download the credential and upload it to their resume, LinkedIn or other social media account to share their new accomplishment. LinkedIn has a feature that makes the badge interactive, allowing a viewer to dive deeper into the whole degree plan and see exactly how the badge was earned and what it takes to earn one themselves. 

This is a brand-new way for students to show their certifications and skills as they start entering the job field. It can also be a good way for students to begin working while still taking classes. This allows them to market themselves to employers because they already have something to show for their education on their resume. 

“Short-term microcredentials and digital badges are revolutionizing the way community college students prepare for the workforce,” said Dr. Tiffany Watts, Chief of Staff/Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at FTCC. “These credentials enhance student employability and provide students with tangible evidence of their skills by awarding digital badges that can be displayed on social media, included on resumes, or featured in email signatures. This modern approach to credentialing equips students with the in-demand skills employers seek and also gives them a powerful tool to demonstrate their capabilities in a rapidly evolving job market.”

logistics & distribution  management graduationFTCC is one of the first community colleges in North Carolina to start this initiative, and the possibilities are endless. So far, FTCC has awarded 109 digital badges and the number will only grow.

One of the programs using the FTCC digital badges is the Logistics & Distribution Management Program. Students in this program participated in their graduation ceremony on March 13, with all students earning a Verified Forklift Operator digital badge that they can now advertise to employers. 

“I downloaded and added my badges to my LinkedIn and resume immediately,” Taylor said. “I 100% think these badges make you more marketable to employers. These skills are tangible that you can put into action through demonstrating operations of equipment, inspecting workplaces and providing recommendations for safety improvements or helping understand a supply chain failure or gap.”

This is a grant-funded initiative through “Credentials As You Go,” a project aimed at developing a nationally adopted incremental credentialing system that improves education and employment outcomes for all. FTCC has full support from the North Carolina Community Colleges Systems Office for funding and the College plans to continue to grow the initiative in every way.