According to the College Board’s report, Trends in College Pricing, average published tuition and fee prices increased up to 3.7 percent in 2014, depending on sector. This increase is higher than the 2.0 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index during the same time period, and while lower than the average annual increases in the past five years, continues a concerning trend that has been highlighted in the educational and other media for years now.
Even more concerning, a college degree is no longer a one-way ticket to the proverbial American dream, and increasingly college graduates are leaving the ivory tower with skills incompatible with those needed by employers to fill the more than 4.6 million open jobs in the U.S. (Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business, 2014).
IREC Accredited training providers buck this trend by providing clean energy training and education that is aligned with employer needs, so graduates are assured they are gaining knowledge and skills that are valued in the marketplace. IREC’s standards for clean energy training providers ensure this a number of ways:
Alignment with real jobs – IREC Accredited training providers offer curricula aligned with industry-vetted job task analysis, assuring that program content is consistent with the knowledge and skills industry says are needed.
Linkage with industry – from curriculum development through job placement, significant, long-term relationships with industry are a hallmark of an IREC accredited program.
Stakeholder engagement – the IREC standards call for stakeholder engagement and input in every phase of program development, from the decision about what clean energy content to offer, right through program evaluation, and continuously improving and refining program content and delivery.
Valid assessments – assessment of student learning is a key training program success indicator. When it comes down to it, what assurance do you have that students have attained the learning objectives for the program, and can safely and successfully perform on the job? It is only valid, criterion-referenced written and hands-on testing that can measure learning and competency, both of which are key focuses in IREC training provider standards. Together, they help demonstrate that knowledge has in fact been transferred to students.