Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) reassessed its traditional business skills program. With validated local business feedback, SBCC redesigned its entire professional development program from the ground up and also used digital badges as a catalyst to invigorate the program.
Because badges are such a new concept, SBCC worked with synED and Pearson Acclaim to fit the badge technology to the overall project. The badges offered by SBCC are branded with the college’s name, giving anyone looking at them the validation that they were issued by an accredited educational institution.
The synED team was also heavily involved in marketing the Career Skills Institute (CSI) and its programs to prospective students and employers. SynED reached out to 40 companies in the Santa Barbara area to set up meetings to explain the new program and how it could benefit their employees. The rebranded CSI launched in Fall 2015. Since then, more than 1800 students have enrolled in badge programs. There are currently 76 courses offered as part of 23 badge programs with plans to continue adding courses to meet the changing needs of the modern workforce.
A continual quality improvement process has been instituted to keep the program fresh and relevant. Overall, replicability was an important objective for this effort to make the program easily implemented at other colleges in the region. The program has been well received by students and businesses alike.