Stacking the Deck for Employment Success: Labor Market Returns to Stackable Credentials Nov 01, 2020 By Katharine MeyerKelli A. BirdBenjamin Castleman Stacking the Deck for Employment Success: Labor Market Returns to Stackable Credentials With rapid technological transformations to the labor market along with COVID-19 related economic disruptions, many working adults return to college to obtain additional training or credentials. Using a comparative individual fixed effects strategy and an administrative panel dataset of enrollment and employment in Virginia, we provide the first causal estimates of credential “stacking” among working adults. We find stacking increases employment by four percentage points and quarterly wages by $570 (seven percent). Returns are larger for individuals whose first credential is a short-term certificate and in Health and Business. Link to Paper Areas of focus Education UVA partners EdPolicyWorks: Center for Education Policy and Workforce Competitiveness Katharine Meyer Kelli A. Bird Benjamin Castleman Ben Castleman is an associate professor of education and public policy at the Batten School and the founder and director of the Nudge4 Solutions Lab at UVA. His research focuses on policies to improve college access and success for low-income students. Several of his papers examine innovative strategies to deliver high-quality information about the college-going process to low-income students and their families, and to ease the process of students and families getting professional support when they need assistance Read full bio Related Content Benjamin Castleman Unfinished Business? Academic and Labor Market Profile of Adults With Substantial College Credits But No Degree Research Using data from the Virginia Community College System (VCCS), this case provides the first detailed profile on the academic, employment, and earnings trajectories of the SCND population and how these compare with VCCS graduates. The scholars show that the share of SCND students who are academically ready to re-enroll and would benefit from doing so may be substantially lower than policy makers anticipate. Pushing College Advising Forward: Experimental Evidence on Intensive Advising and College Success Research Growing experimental evidence demonstrates that low-touch informational, nudge, and virtual advising interventions are ineffective at improving postsecondary educational outcomes for economically-disadvantaged students at scale. Intensive in-person college advising programs are a considerably higher-touch and more resource intensive strategy; some programs provide students with dozen of hours of individualized assistance starting in high school and continuing through college, and can cost thousands of dollars per student served. Batten Faculty Recognized for Excellence in Teaching, Service, Research and Engagement News This academic year, Batten School professors won a slew of internal and external recognitions for excellence in teaching, service, research and engagement. Why aren’t more adults finishing community college? News Batten School professor Ben Castleman and colleagues explore programs enacted by states to increase enrollment in community colleges. Despite these efforts, numbers have been steadily declining for much of the 2010s. Is there a way to get adults back to community college?