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Grantee Spotlight: Altierus Career College Campuses Join Forces to Integrate Professional Skills into Curriculum

Connecting Technical and Professional Skills

February 20, 2020

A candidate may have all the technical skills a job requires—the training, the knowledge and the abilities—but that is just part of the equation to excel in the workplace. No matter the strength of one’s work experience or educational credentials, employers want to hire individuals with strong soft skills, such as the ability to communicate professionally, think critically, problem-solve efficiently and collaborate effectively with colleagues.

ECMC Education, the nonprofit provider of Altierus Career Colleges (Altierus), understands this reality. Excelling in the career paths supported by Altierus, including allied health and trades, requires technical knowledge combined with soft skills. Today, the campuses are taking action to equip students with these crucial soft skills, which Altierus refers to as “professional skills.”

Curricula at Altierus has been primarily focused on technical, discipline-specific competencies needed to pass certification exams. With support from ECMC Foundation, ECMC Education is now making significant strides to integrate professional skills training uniformly across all academic programs and campuses.

The team is building a new professional skills course that is tuition and credit-free. The mandatory course will be led by the Career Services teams and delivered in an online modality through Altierus’ Canvas learning management system. The course uses a digital credentialing platform called Badgr, which allows students to earn professional skill badges when they complete and master new skills.

“Right now, we’re bringing together program chairs, career services personnel, faculty and staff from all Altierus Career College campuses and programs to integrate professional skills into courses at our campuses in Tampa, Florida, Norcross, Georgia, and Bissonnet, Texas,” said Jennifer Eull, PhD, dean of allied health at Altierus, who is leading the effort across campuses. “During our meetings, which are held about once a month, our leaders and frontline staff are able to connect, share best practices and work together to put their recommendations into action.”

“Now is the time to be innovative, bold and forward-thinking when training the future workforce on professional skills,” said Jennifer. “Through this project, our graduates will be well-prepared for day-to-day and long-term success in the workplace

This feature originally appeared in ECMC Foundation’s annual report. Read more stories from the annual report here.

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