McGraw-Hill released a case study today profiling the experience of Jestina King, a single mother of three, whose valuable certificates helped to lift her family out of poverty. The study highlights how the College of Health Care Professions (CHCP)  meets the four key pillars essential to serving adult working learners -- providing a blended and flexible schedule, stackable programs, career-focused education, and holistic student support services. These offerings reflect a shift over the past five years within the education community to a unique, new approach that enrolls students in short-term, industry-recognized certificates to boost their near-term earning potential as they pursue longer-term degree programs.

"In today's tight labor market, employers are struggling to find the talent to fill good jobs, yet at the same time there are millions of Americans who are unemployed, underemployed, or lack the skills, credentials, and networks to earn a family-sustaining wage," said Jane Oates, the president of WorkingNation, a former assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor for Employment and Training, and the author of the report's foreword. "This case study is a powerful profile of students and an institution that embraces the potential of stackable credentials to forge a more equitable path to well-paying careers for all students."

Jestina is among the 40% of all higher education students who work full-time and the 24% who are parents. The case study features interviews with seven employers who discuss their CHCP to design programs that not only align to in-demand jobs through work-based learning, but also allow students to work full-time. Class schedules that include as little as two full days a week on campus give students the flexibility to both earn and learn.

"We see so many students like Jestina who have fallen through the cracks of higher education and felt shut out from high-paying jobs come through our doors with incredible potential, drive, and talent," said Eric Bing, CEO of CHCP. "Through our shift to structured, and time-flexible, stackable credentials, we seek to help them immediately stabilize their lives while also preparing them for long-term careers in high-growth fields."

Before attending CHCP, Jestina struggled to support her family through part-time jobs in the fast food industry. Through a short-term certificate program, she became a licensed limited medical radiologic technologist (LMRT) at an urgent care center. She later returned to complete an associate's degree in radiologic technology while employed full-time and then received a promotion and significant raise.

"With its innovative approach, The College of Health Care Professions is opening doors of opportunity for students who, in the past, might not have had a pathway to a credential or degree," said Susan Gouijnstook, SVP of Innovation Strategy at McGraw-Hill. "We're thrilled we've been able to partner with CHCP over the past seven years on our shared journey of improving equity in higher education."

The link to the full release can be found here.