Increasing Opportunities: Building Pathways with Stackable Non-Degree Credentials

By Amy Ellen Duke-Benfield, September 29, 2020

In the face of high unemployment and economic uncertainty, there is growing interest from policymakers, business leaders, and workers alike in the potential of non-degree credentials to help support rapid transitions to family-supporting jobs, especially where such credentials can serve as an entry point for further education and training. But evidence on “stackable” credentials is mixed, and there are clearly more steps that practitioners and policymakers can take to strengthen opportunities for workers, particularly those who have been most heavily impacted by the current crisis and those who were already facing systemic barriers to economic opportunities.

In this webinar, hosted by Education Strategy Group and National Skills Coalition, we’ll be joined by three leading thinkers to discuss why some credentials stack and others don’t and how to better ensure that more workers and students have access to career pathways that lead to family-supporting jobs. Institutions and states need to change their policies so that the stackability of non-degree credentials is not an empty promise.


  • Amy Ellen Duke-Benfield, Senior Fellow, National Skills Coalition
  • Dr. Lindsay Daugherty, Senior Policy Researcher, RAND Corporation
  • Dr. Girard Melancon, Vice Chancellor for Workforce Solutions, Baton Rouge Community College
  • Dr. Mark Mitsui, President, Portland Community College (OR)

Additional resources from the webinar:

  • Brett Visger (Education Strategy Group) presented an early look at their upcoming report “A More Unified Community College: Strategies and Resources to Align Non-Credit and Credit Programs” which will be released October 6.
  • Dr. Lindsay Daugherty (RAND) shared a link to “Making Improvements to Stackable Credential Pipelines: A Toolkit on Using Data to Drive Improvements in Ohio Postsecondary Institutions.”
  • This event closed out a summer series of webinars co-hosted by Education Strategy Group and National Skills Coalition on the importance of non-degree credentials, including the importance of quality in defining non-degree credentials and short-term credentials and racial equity (hosted by the Lumina Foundation).
  • And check out National Skills Coalition’s new blog on state adoption of quality non-degree credentials definitions!