Ohio Stackable Certificates: Models for Success

The resources in this section contain both evidence-based research and practice-based materials that can help guide the development, implementation, and continuous improvement of ACP programs.

Community Research Partners
Author(s) Organizational Affiliation
Columbus State Community College Business and Industry Division
Ohio Board of Regents
Publication Year
Resource Type
Key Words

Ohio’s system of stackable certificates is designed to deliver pre-college academics and for-credit job training to adults whose math, reading, writing, or language skills fall somewhere between a sixth grade level and a high school credential. The components of the system include: 1) academic remediation; 2) certificated technical skills training; and 3) college credits. A progression of certificates—entry-level, intermediate, and advanced—is targeted to adults at a specific point along the education continuum. As adults raise their academic and technical skill levels by earning a certificate, they will earn an increasing number of college credits in their technical field. This also prepares them to take general education courses required for a degree. Examples of the framework for the healthcare, welding, and advanced manufacturing industries are provided.

The report includes a discussion of the following topics:

  • Context for Ohio Stackable Certificates, including legislation and stakeholder perceptions;
  • Barriers that adults must overcome to succeed in postsecondary education;
  • National and Ohio best practices for engaging adults in postsecondary education;
  • A framework for Ohio Stackable Certificates; and
  • Case studies of national and Ohio program models.
Benefits and Uses

Administrators will understand the characteristics and components of a stackable certificate system.

Resource Notice

This resource was reviewed and vetted through the Designing Instruction for Career Pathways initiative of the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education under Contract No. ED-CFO-10-A-0072/0001.