Colorado Launches General Education Completion Credential

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

DENVER – Today, Governor Polis and the Colorado Department of Higher Education launched a framework for Colorado public institutions of higher education to formally recognize students when they have completed all requirements in the state’s Guaranteed Transfer Pathways (GT Pathways) general education curriculum. The credential helps save students time and money by highlighting the skills and competencies gained through general education and the value of these essential skills to employers.

Last week, the Colorado Commission on Higher Education passed a resolution to endorse the Colorado GenEd Foundational Skills Credential. Colorado Mountain College (CMC) is one of the first institutions to launch a general education completion credential.

“This credential is another example of how Colorado is expanding education opportunities, and helping save students time and money. The ability for Coloradans to gain the skills they need to get a job or build a career, is essential to stronger communities and a strong economy,” said Governor Polis.

“I’m extraordinarily proud of the work that CMC has done to develop their essential skills certificate. Through this work, CMC is recognizing student achievement while providing them with clear and transparent pathways to career opportunities,” said Dr. Kim Poast, chief student success & academic affairs officer at CDHE. “This stackable credential is directly aligned with broader efforts to help students articulate the skills and competencies gained from learning, while creating momentum points and early wins for students. We look forward to using CMC as a model for statewide adoption.”

The most recent Job Outlook 2024 survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) indicated that nearly 90% of employers are seeking evidence of a student’s ability to solve problems and nearly 80% are seeking candidates who have strong teamwork skills. In addition, at least two-thirds of employers report looking for:

  • A strong work ethic
  • Written and verbal communication skills
  • Analytical/quantitative skills
  • Flexibility/adaptability; and
  • Technical skills.

CMC’s Essential Skills Certificate is designed to help students earn credits toward their chosen academic program while preparing for a job and career. This first-of-its-kind program in Colorado can give students a distinct advantage in their college and career goals.

“When thinking about how students and families consider college, or going back to college, we need to be better at conveying that there are ways to learn at your capacity in the moment, without the fear of getting off track,” said CMC Vice President for Academic Affairs Kathryn Regjo. “The new essential skills certificate can help a learner get started in college and can also provide essential workplace skills for those who have already earned technical skills certifications.” 

About the Colorado General Education Council 
The Colorado General Education Council is a statutorily created body representing all of the public institutions of higher education and charged with development and oversight responsibilities for various statewide transfer initiatives, including GT Pathways (general education transfer), associate-to-bachelor’s degree pathways, and credit for prior learning, including Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, military training and education, and work-based experience.