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The 193rd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 15G: Stackable credentials

Section 15G. (a) The department of higher education shall assess stackable credentials offered at community colleges, state universities and the University of Massachusetts campuses and, in collaboration with the public higher education institutions and regional workforce organizations, shall: (i) identify best practices to be shared and replicated across campuses to provide a clear and accessible path for students seeking to advance their education through workforce training and preparation; (ii) establish guidelines and standards for earning stackable credentials through workforce development or career and technical education; (iii) identify and implement stackable programs on campuses where further needs exist; and (iv) disseminate information on stackable education pathway opportunities with regional workforce agencies. For the purposes of this section, ''stackable credential'' shall mean a credential earned through an education, training or apprenticeship program while attending an institution of higher education which is designed to be part of a pathway for students that, along with other stackable credentials, cumulatively leads to a degree or industry specific skills certification. The department shall prioritize this effort in the areas of advanced manufacturing and information technology. The department may base credentials on competency, workforce or apprentice experience or workforce preparation. In developing criteria for credentials, the department shall consult with regional employment boards, career and technical education entities, community colleges, state universities, the University of Massachusetts, chambers of commerce, the Massachusetts Technology Park Corporation doing business as the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center and trade associations.

(b) Stackable credentials shall be available across the commonwealth and administered through public higher education institutions; provided, however, that public higher education institutions shall: (i) develop programs responsive to industry needs based on current regional labor market data; (ii) implement the programs in a manner that ensures interconnection of competencies offered in specialized training programs; and (iii) determine transferability of credentials for college credit.

(c) For the purposes of this section ''public higher education institutions'' shall include Quincy College.