Stackable credentials focus career and technical education programs on building the critical skills needed for students to advance in growing sectors of the economy. By awarding credit for a range of education, training, and workplace learning and skill building experiences that "stack," toward associate degrees, stackable credential programs help working students develop the skills they need to advance on the job and earn credentials that enable further study – at the same time. This accelerates credit attainment and may increase the likelihood of degree completion.

The Mapping Upward project, supported by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) provided technical assistance to four community college networks comprising 13 colleges as they worked to embed stackable, industry-recognized credentials within technical associate degree programs and to field test a Stackable Credentials Tool Kit that was developed to help a broader range of stakeholders learn about stackable credentials.

Download: Tool Kit (PDF 3.2 MB) | Word Version (DOCX, 2.9MB)

Mapping Upward Tutorials

Podcast 1: Interview with Dr. Maria Coons, September 2016
Dr. Maria Coons, Chief of Staff and Vice President of Workforce Planning and Institutional Effectiveness at Harper College, offers her perspectives on leveraging stackable credentials to increase completion and inspiring college staff to sustain this change in program design.

Download: Audio (MP3, 7.7 MB) | Transcript (DOCX, 29 KB)

Podcast 2: Interview with Dr. Annette Parker, September 2016
Dr. Annette Parker, President of South Central College in Minnesota, discusses curriculum redesign approaches that allow students to earn stackable college credentials aligned to industry certification.

Download: Audio (MP3, 5.1 MB) | Transcript (DOCX, 29 KB)

Podcast 3: Interview with Debbie Davidson, September 2016
Debbie Davidson, Vice President of Business and Workforce Solutions at Gateway Technical College, shares her perspectives on collaborating with employers to design stackable credentials and building capacity for industry partnership development at the department level.

Download: Audio (MP3, 12.5 MB) | Transcript (DOCX, 32 KB)

Use the Certification Crosswalk to quickly look up certifications for career and technical education.

Screenshot of the Certification Crosswalk

Data presented in this tool are provided by Career One Stop and Advance CTE.


Stackable Credentials
Tool Kit
(PDF, 3.2 MB)

Certification Crosswalk


Erin Berg

Robin Utz
(202) 245-7767

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