Division of Workforce Credentialing and Community Impact
Mercy College’s new division of Workforce Credentialing and Community Impact meets the expanding need to effectively prepare students of all ages to fill the skills gaps in the labor markets of today and the unknown jobs of tomorrow. This division will be focused on shorter term certificates for those seeking preparation in very specific workforce needs, whether hard skills like cybersecurity, health care, software coding or soft skills like executive leadership or conflict resolution. Click here to read the press release.
Meet Brian Amkraut
Brian Amkraut, Ph.D., Vice President and General Manager for Workforce Credentialing and Community Impact oversees a new division of Workforce Credentialing and Community Impact. Brian has over 20 years of experience in higher education and has focused on continuing professional studies and online learning.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: When did Mercy announce this new division?
A: In 2021 Mercy College announced the creation of a new division within the College called the Division of Workforce Credentialing and Community Impact that is focused on Workforce Development and Online Credentials.
Q: Why did Mercy create this new division?
A: Mercy created this division based on the new reality of longer lives and ever-changing career demands as well as a new vision on the ongoing relationship between higher education and continued professional success for individuals and communities. The population of adult workers represents an important, even critical constituency whose needs are often ignored by our schools and colleges. Mercy is embracing this opportunity by providing critical in-demand skills in a broad range of subject areas for learners of all ages and our employer partners in the private and public sectors.
Q: Why was it important to launch this new division now?
A: Currently, jobs remain unfilled because employees lack the skills to fill them. Mercy is prepared to fill that gap by connecting with the workforce needs of Westchester County and the tri-state area. Research over the past year has shown that a majority of workers who have been displaced by the pandemic are looking for shorter term skills preparation rather than degrees and Mercy is prepared to help them.
Q: What is the Division of Workforce Credentialing and Community Impact?
A: The division is poised to be the region’s premier non-credit credentialing program and will meet the lifelong learning needs of the workforce through shorter term certificate programs that can provide specific hard skills such as software coding or soft skills such as executive leadership or conflict resolution. More often than not our learners can apply these certificate credentials towards on-going study to complete degree programs at Mercy.
Q: What is the vision of the division?
A: The vision of the new division creates a broad-based community of learners by providing access to certificates and credentials to people of all ages throughout their careers, thereby bolstering the College’s mission to provide individuals the opportunity to transform their lives through higher education.
Q: How does that division impact higher education?
A: Mercy’s new division takes on one of the most compelling issues in higher education and creates an exciting opportunity to focus on the education needs of the workforce by providing real-time and real-need skills that are both time and cost effective.
Q: Who will the division serve?
A: The division is well positioned to seize this moment and deliver a wide range of educational programs for a truly diverse body of learners, whether in person throughout the New York metropolitan area or online.
Q: When will courses begin to be offered?
A: The division will begin offering courses in early 2022 and more information will be shared in the coming weeks.
Q: How will the division work with the community to determine the need of courses?
A: The division will be proactive in connecting with business leaders and public officials in Westchester County and the tri-state area to survey needs and create a robust program to close the skills gap between open jobs and the unemployed and underemployed.
Q: What courses will be offered?
A: Courses will be offered with an “outside-in” approach to program and curriculum development, as we will use the feedback from our employer stakeholders to then work with subject matter experts and develop courses and certificates to meet workforce demands. We anticipate our first forays to focus on critical areas of health care, sustainability and broader digital expertise, with a focus on cybersecurity.
Q: What are the benefits of participating in a workforce credentialing program?
A: Programs will offer competency-based assessments in skill-based curricula., In addition to stand-alone credentials, these certificates also create pathways for continuous learning in both degree and non-degree settings.
Q: Will courses be offered in-person, online or both?
A: Courses will be offered both in-person at Mercy Campuses and online.
Q: Will Mercy be creating the curriculum and using its faculty?
A: Some curricula will be built on existing content expertise from Mercy faculty and subject matter experts and other programs may be developed in conjunction with outside practitioners who bring awareness and proficiency in the most up-to-date workforce skills to our offerings.
Q: How much will certificate programs cost?
A: Mercy anticipates a full spectrum of learning opportunities and offerings that range from little to no cost and some of which lead towards a degree that reflects the College’s commitment to accessibility and affordability. By meeting the needs of the current labor shortage in high-demand skill sets, we can make a compelling value proposition to our students to invest in themselves.
Q: What is the admissions process?
A: The process will vary by program and our credential programs will include Mercy’s well-known commitment to put support mechanisms in place to ensure enrolled learners have the support they need to succeed. Many programs will have no formal prior higher education requirements, but may include aptitude assessments to insure appropriate alignment between individual learners and specific credentials.
Q: How is the division funded?
A: Mercy College is funding the division with its own resources to build the infrastructure necessary to get it started and it will then become a revenue-based model. As these programs address critical learning needs in our communities, and create pathways for professional success and wealth creation for individuals and communities, we do look forward to significant corporate and philanthropic support to drive down the actual costs of enrollment for program participants.
Q: Who is running the division?
A: Effective November 1, 2021, Brian Amkraut, Ph.D., joined Mercy College as the Vice President and General Manager for Workforce Development and Online Credentials. He previously served as executive director of the Laura and Alvin Siegal Lifelong Learning Program at Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Amkraut has over 20 years of experience in higher education and has focused on continuing professional studies and online learning. Prior to his role at Case Western Reserve, he served as provost and professor of Judaic Studies at Siegal College. Amkraut also served as Director of Distance Learning and Director of Assessment of Student Learning at Siegal College. He earned his Ph.D. from New York University. Throughout his career, Amkraut has published and presented on a range of topics including continuing education, lifelong learning and the changing landscape of higher education.