Collaborating with Correctional Education on Understanding the Value of Non-degree Credentials

Brooke Istas, the moderator for the Correctional Education community, recently posted the report, "Nondegree Credentials in Correctional Education", published by the U.S. Department of Education.  I am planning to read it over and think more about how the Career Pathways community can support our colleagues in Correctional Education to help this community of learners benefit from credentials leading to career pathways.  

I invite you to join Brooke and I in considering how these non-degree certificates can be linked to pathways supporting inmates, both while incarcerated, and post-release.   Many career pathways programs work with former inmates, so this is relevant to us all.  What are you seeing in your programs from former inmates who are enrolled in your career pathways programs? What are the challenges and successes in working with this population of learners?

We hope that you will join us.  You can access the full report here: "Nondegree Credentials in Correctional Education".

Mike Cruse

Career Pathways Moderator


Hopefully some of you have been able to read the resource that was shared by the Correctional Education moderator on non-degree credentials in correctional education. If not, here are a few of the highlights from the report.

  Applicants from non-degree credential programs are typically expected to:
  • have a high school credential
  • meet reading and math requirements
  • have no major disciplinary infractions within a given time period
  • be within a reasonable time frame for release in order to have time to complete the credential
  • have an offense category that does not prevent them from working in the field of the credential
The report notes that the typical age range of learners is 20s to early 30s.  The programs surveyed noted no other demographic trends for participants non-degree certificates, there was a common observation that these learners are "more focused on life after release than on what is occurring in their correctional facility".     This lead me to wonder how learners in correctional facilities:
  • maintain persistence towards certificate completion;
  • the types of credentials they are most commonly completing;
  • and how the costs of these programs are paid for, and by whom?
The report goes into some detail to answer these type of questions, and others.  Are you interested in the answers?  What other questions do you have about creating non-degree, career pathway credentials for incarcerated learners?   Mike Cruse Career Pathways Moderator