Money & Business

Daily Buzz: Can Association Credentials Replace College?

By / May 17, 2019 (DNY59/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

In an age of student debt, many young professionals are turning away from college. That’s where association credentialing and certificate programs come in. Also: tech and the member journey.

As many young adults question the value of college, the credentialing and certification industry is stepping in to fill the gap as an affordable alternative to a four-year degree. For associations, this educational change opens up the opportunity to become a trusted professional resource.

“Associations are well positioned to help train new and experienced professionals throughout their careers,” says the WBT Systems team on its blog. “As employers look beyond degrees and seek to find employees who can demonstrate competencies, a digital badge, certification, certificate, or micro-credential becomes a valuable way for hiring managers to validate a job seeker’s skills.”

To become the standard education program in your industry, start with revisiting the requirements for your credentialing program. After all, you can’t become a resource to young professionals if your requirements exclude them.

From there, get the word out about the program. “Don’t only promote your credentialing programs to members,” the team says. “Expand your marketing to students, college and university career center staff, young professionals, and industry employers. Make sure they’re aware of your credentialing programs and understand the importance of these credentials for validating competencies.”

Tech’s Role in Membership

Digital transformation touches every aspect of an association, including membership.

“Your prospective members expect that your organization has transformed digitally, just like all the other companies and brands they interact with,” says Tom Lehman on the Higher Logic blog. “And what do they expect? An engaging experience with digital, personal touch points along the way. This change in the member’s journey requires a proactive, responsive, data-driven strategy so that you can engage each member at various levels of the funnel.”

Associations should continually evaluate their member journey to improve the experience. So, as your organization tweaks and refines its approach, invite conversations on how technology can streamline and benefit membership. It might be challenging, but in an evolving digital world, it’s also necessary.

Other Links of Note

Exhibitors and other sponsors put a lot of money and energy behind events. The Personify blog outlines how planners can recognize and create value for exhibitors.

You know what an algorithm is, but what kind of impact can it make on your organization? Fast Company explains how algorithms work—through fruit.

Meeting planners can avoid and resolve conflict by providing full transparency on projects, says MeetingsNet.

Sophia Conforti

Sophia Conforti is a contributor to Associations Now. More »

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