In the biotechnology industry, there is a disconnect between the credentials available to students and the companies that hire them. Often certificates or degrees in biology or biotechnology are broad certificates of completion, lacking detail about the classes taken by students or the skills acquired. Currently, only two credentials exist that attempt to span this gap: Biotility’s BACE exam and MSI’s MT-1 exam. Both exams cover a broad range of topics and are considered expensive by students, employees, and industry. The Bioscience Core Skills Institute (BCSI) bridges the gap with digital microcredentials that are affordable, attainable with short-term training, and stackable.
Students and potential employees are often unaware of the credentials needed to attain careers in biology, particularly in biotech. Employers often advertise for “wrong size” credentials, such as a Bachelor’s in biology, for positions that need specific skills, such as an entry level technician. Microcredentials solve this wrong-sizing by certifying and documenting the details of the applicant’s work and training history in a skills-acquired format. By disaggregating the skills, BCSI gives new-hires the ability to convey their skills toolbox in a digital format while providing employers a clear advantage in hiring already-trained professionals who need little on-boarding.
In higher education, credentials are largely awarded for content knowledge leaving graduates with degrees that lack detail on the lab skills acquired. Courses on a transcript labelled “Introduction to Biotechnology” or “Biotechnology Methods” are not transparent about what skills are included. Microcredentials add detail to the traditional degree, allowing students to document specific skills acquired in lab programs.
The BCSI utilizes authentic and validated rubrics that were crafted with input from the biotech industry, professional organizations, highly skilled workers, and academic training groups. Rubrics have been designed to be aligned with existing national skill standards, such as Washington Skills Standards, Texas Skill Standards, and the C3BC Core Skills Standards for Bioscience Technicians. Each credential certifies a valuable skill and includes the objectives and performances measured in a way that is apparent to potential employees as well as employers.
BCSI performs on-site testing of core laboratory skills and grants credentials to those who can perform with mastery. Digital micro-credentials earned are accessible and clickable on digital platforms such as LinkedIn, e-portfolios, and digital resumes.
For more information on how BCSI can partner with your organization to offer microcredentials to your current employees and new or potential hires, contact Heather@coreskillsinstitute.com or Angela@coreskillsinstitute.com.