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Monroe Community College offers 2 new short-term technical courses this fall

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Gino Fanelli/CITY
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Monroe Community College is expanding their offerings of short-term programs, called “micro-credentials,” this fall.

Classes in construction fundamentals and optics manufacturing are now among eight such programs at MCC.

The goal of these “micro-credential” courses is to prepare students for specific jobs in fields that require skilled workers. For instance, companies in the Rochester area like L3Harris, IDEX, Nesco Resource and Corning are currently seeking workers for optics-related jobs.

“Microcredentials are new,” Director of Academic Services Andrew Freeman said, “But they have the potential in the future to help an adult student who maybe they don't have maybe the time or the interest at this time to pursue maybe an associate's degree.”

SUNY universities began offering these types of courses in 2018. However, MCC’s first offerings began last year, Freeman said.

About 40 students have completed a microcredential course so far, he said, but haven’t gotten formal recognition of that yet.

“We're still working out how we track students who pursue a microcredential,” Freeman said. “It is not a credential that's recognized by the State Education Department as a formal program. It's really just a collection of a few courses, but it's stackable into a certificate or degree.”

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the demand for these kinds of credentials has increased in recent years -- about 75% of hiring managers say the job market is seeing a skills gap with nearly half of job seekers lacking needed skills to fill open positions.

Earlier this year, state labor commissioner Robert Reardon said the SUNY-system's expansion of micro-credential courses reflects an “era of lifelong learning” and marks a synergy between education and labor that she said is a “recipe for New York’s economic success.”

Noelle E. C. Evans is an education reporter/producer with a background in documentary filmmaking and education.