Mercer County Community College has launched new micro-credential learning programs for time-pressed students and professionals as part of a commitment to keep pace with technology and the demands for a skilled workforce.

MCCC spokesman Paul Healy said these micro-credentials are qualifications that a person earns to demonstrate skills, knowledge or experience in a particular area. The programs are accelerated, focused, short-term courses.

The courses can help high school graduates land a first job while they're completing a college degree. They can also put working professionals on a fast track to a promotion or a raise and they help someone who wants to change careers or start a new business.

Healy said the programs address the need for businesses to stay competitive by helping to ensure their employees are continuing to develop new skills.

Three of the four programs that Mercer County Community College are introducing as micro-credentials are related to information technology services.

One micro-credential course includes entrepreneurial management for business professionals. Some of the concepts they'll learn include office accounting, marketing, human resources management, entrepreneurship and business law.

Another course is database concepts and skills, which helps to fast-track someone to a career in information technology.

A course on information technology systems offers an introduction to programming and project management concepts, databases and systems.

Another course focuses on Oracle SQL programing and database design.

The MCCC micro-credentials result in an academic certificate of achievement college credits that can be used toward an associate or bachelor's degree.

"Today, employees tend to change jobs every four or five years, the research shows. Then they switch careers several times over their lifetimes. That really does mean it's essential for businesses and employees to have options like micro-credentials that makes ongoing continuous learning and the recognition of that learning, more accessible," Healy.

The virtual courses at MCCC begin in January. Registration is open at www.mccc.edu/micro

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