Scripps Gerontology Center will help student job training and credentials for adults

Improving job training and education for adults through post-baccalaureate credentials is the goal of two research projects involving Miami’s Scripps Gerontology Center. 

Miami’s Phyllis Cummins, a senior research scholar at the center, is an investigator for both of the $1.4 million research grants, joining principal investigators at the University of Michigan and the University of Maryland - Baltimore County. 

The studies rest on the belief that access to postsecondary training and short-term credentials has never been more important in the U.S. than it is now. Experts say increasing the number of individuals holding high quality postsecondary certificates in occupational fields is a key avenue for reestablishing and maintaining economic vitality. 

“Older adults are an important part of our nation’s economy and civic life, and they will help lead our economic recovery and continuing progress,” Cummins said. “These two studies will help us identify job training programs that work and highlight best practices to promote post-baccalaureate credentials that benefit all adults.”

The studies are the latest examples of Scripps Gerontology Center’s research and advocacy providing tangible benefits to Ohio’s citizens and the state’s economy and civic life. The center is just one Miami University program that helps advance Ohio’s major priorities, part of Miami’s $24 million in annual funded research and $3.2 billion annual economic impact on Ohio. 

The first grant, in conjunction with the University of Michigan and principal investigator Peter Bahr, will study Ohio’s community colleges and career and technical centers (CTCs) and recommend strategies to adapt those programs to adults in short-term credential programs. Cummins will serve as co-principal investigator. This three-year study aims to pinpoint the policies, strategies and practices that contribute to the success of CTC students and can be adapted to improve outcomes nationwide for students in community college career and technical programs, especially those in short-term credential programs.

The second grant, partnering with principal investigator Taka Yamashita of UMBC, will study technical programs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) at community colleges including Clover Park Technical College in Washington, Cuyahoga Community College in northern Ohio and Ivy Tech Community College in Indiana. Researchers will create the first national profile of basic skills across different segments of the adult population for a variety of STEM industries, hoping to enhance job training programs to benefit both job-seeking adults and industries that employ them.