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UT System Receives $1.5 Million Grant to Expand Microcredential Initiative
AUSTIN, Texas - The University of Texas System has been awarded a Phase 2 grant through Strada Education Network’s $10 million Beyond Completion Challenge. Strada awarded the $1.5 million grant as part of an effort to support higher education institutions substantially expand promising efforts to improve long-term outcomes for many more students, especially those who historically have faced the greatest barriers in education and the workforce.
“It is an honor to be awarded a Phase 2 grant from the Beyond Completion Challenge,” UT System Chancellor James B. Milliken said. “In the one year since receiving our initial grant, University of Texas System campuses have been hard at work implementing our Texas Credentials for the Future program, which is opening doors for students at all eight UT academic institutions to obtain a competitive edge in the labor market as they transition into the workforce. We have exciting plans to maintain this momentum in the years to come, partnering with industry, government and other key stakeholders to effectively meet the demands of Texas ’growing population and future workforce.”
The Phase 2 grant will be used to expand Texas Credentials for the Future initiative over a three-year grant cycle. The system-wide microcredential initiative also received Strada funding in the first phase of the Beyond Completion Challenge. The initiative infuses career readiness into the undergraduate curriculum and co-curriculum by including relevant industry microcredentials and skills badges at no additional cost to the learners. The program will continue to focus on majors often associated with low earnings while expanding efforts to include other majors in which significant post-graduation earnings disparities exist. The initiative will reach up to 30,000 students across the system's eight academic institutions.
The UT System along with the three other grantees – Arizona State University (ASU), Rio Salado College and the University of Utah – represent the second phase of Strada’s $10 million Beyond Completion Challenge.
“These four institutions have already found ways to support the success of their learners beyond completion,” said Stephen Moret, Strada Education Network president and CEO. “We are excited to provide these grants so they can reach more learners than ever before and expand to new communities and even other institutions that are joining their efforts. We are honored to have the opportunity to support such forward-thinking and acting partners.”
“As we developed the Beyond Completion Challenge, we were motivated by what students, families, and employers are seeking from higher education today: postsecondary education that provides greater certainty about employment and social and economic mobility beyond degree completion," said Ruth V. Watkins, Strada president of postsecondary education. “Phase 1 grants brought forward a wide range of innovative ideas for how two- and four-year institutions can respond to these changing expectations. The projects supported in Phase 2 allow the smaller set of partner institutions to make big bets on the approaches with highest potential for delivering the outcomes students, families, and employers now seek. We look forward to learning with these partners how postsecondary education can fulfill its promise.”
About The University of Texas System
For nearly 140 years The University of Texas System has improved the lives of Texans and people all over the world through education, research and health care. With 13 institutions that enroll more than 244,000 students collectively, the UT System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States. UT institutions produce more than 68,000 graduates annually and award more than one-third of undergraduate degrees in Texas and more than 60% of the state’s medical degrees. Collectively, UT-owned and affiliated hospitals and clinics accounted for more than 10 million outpatient visits and more than 2 million hospital days each year. UT institutions are among the most innovative in the world, ranking No. 1 in Texas and No. 2 in the nation for federal research expenditures. The UT System also is one of the largest employers in Texas, with more than 22,000 faculty – including Nobel laureates and members of the National Academies – and more than 116,000 non-faculty employees, including health care professionals, researchers, support staff and student workers. The UT System has an operating budget of $25.2 billion.