New Presidential Fellow Addressing Gaps in Professionalism Skills

Over the next year, faculty member Asa Stone will be leading CNM’s new micro-credentialing program.
New Presidential Fellow Addressing Gaps in Professionalism Skills

Oct 04, 2018

During college, students learn the fundamental skills for whatever job they want to pursue, whether that’s welding, nursing, coding or a wide variety of other programs. But what about professionalism—and the other so-called “soft” skills that employers are often calling for? Things like time-management, effective email communication, and ethical decision making? These are necessities in the workforce, but haven’t always been emphasized in the classroom.

Enter Asa Stone. As one of CNM’s new Presidential Fellows, she’s in charge of a pilot program in which CNM will be actively teaching these professionalism skills to interested students so that when they land their first post-college job, they’re ready to perform at high levels in all aspects of their work.

Asa Stone
Asa Stone

To show employers they’re qualified in whatever professionalism skills they’ve studied, students will receive something called a “micro-credential” that they can present as part of their job application. These micro-credentials, which will be separate from the degree and certificate program requirements, will be verified by Blockchain technology so employers can trust their validity.   

“Our research revealed that professionalism skills are what employers desire and what their candidates lack the most,” Asa says. “What we’re doing here is trying to close the skills gap.”

The program roll-out will happen three different ways. First, CNM will hold a series of free professionalism workshops that students can attend throughout the rest of the Fall Term. The workshops are three hours each, will be held on various Fridays, and will be taught by CNM staff and faculty who are subject matter experts. Eligible students will earn a micro-credential for specific skills they demonstrate in the workshop.

Second, Job Connection Services will begin issuing micro-credentials through their existing professionalism workshops. “I believe that our students will benefit greatly from acquiring those professionalism skills and I look forward to making our students' skills visible through micro-credentials.” Asa says.

Third, CNM is one of seven colleges and universities nationwide that will participate in the #TeeUpTheSkills cohort, which is a project by Education Design Lab to explore how skills badges would prepare badge earners to gain quality employment opportunities. As a participant of this project, CNM will have access to Education Design Lab’s services and Credly (management system for micro-credentialing) at no cost. Inside Higher Ed recently reported on the project.

TLC Plumbing & Utility and Jaynes Corporation are industry partners in this effort and they’re providing input as CNM develops its micro-credentialing program.

“Ultimately, we want students graduating from CNM to have the essential skills they need to be successful in the workplace, and we want them to be able to present documentation that they’ve learned these skills so employers know they’re qualified and ready,” Asa says.”Micro-credentials are a powerful tool that will help students enhance their education while also helping businesses identify the well-rounded job candidates they want to hire.”