The IT & Cybersecurity Industry Affinity Group gathered for their monthly call to learn more about the distinctions between credit and noncredit programs and how utilizing both can help achieve promising outcomes for the Scaling Apprenticeship (SA) grant.

Two MSG coaches and a grantee led the discussion on best practices in noncredit programs and bridging nontraditional learning to credit.

Lessons Learned

  • Noncredit programs can meet industry demands for fast and flexible trainings
    • The IT industry is less concerned about formal accreditation and training.They are principally interested in employees having the skills and competencies for the job.
    • Noncredit-to-credit pathways offer higher education an opportunity to innovate and stay relevant in this constantly evolving field.
  • Prior learning assessments (PLA) are helpful for recognizing past experience, but it is important for industry and higher education to communicate
    • IT is a rapidly evolving field, and knowledge becomes obsolete quickly.
    • Collaboration between industry and higher education is necessary in order to discuss how to align PLAs with the most up-to-date demands of the job.
  • Help participants earn credit for prior learning to improve retention
    • CAEL ( has great resources on the benefits of bridging noncredit programs to credit.
    • Provide participants with credentials and certifications that can be carried across jobs throughout the industry can be a strong recruiting tool.


It is important for grantees to know that policies on PLAs and bridging noncredit-to-credit programs vary from state to state and from college to college. For this reason, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to credit and noncredit offerings. Grantees should brainstorm internally and with their coaches about what can work best for their system.