Business programs at FM help students

By Mark Swain

The business programs at FM are designed to develop students’ employability skills, One way to display the skills earned is in the form of a digital micro-credential, also known as a digital badge. The digital badge system represents a series of classes taken to obtain a specific set of skills or learning objectives. Badges are being offered by the Business Division this coming spring semester to focus on the analytical and problem-solving skills used in the accounting and finance electives.

These skills badges will include an Accounting level I and II credential where earners will obtain the knowledge needed to get jobs using analytical, team-work, problem solving and presentation skills in a variety of fields including financial analysis, management, bookkeeping, accounting, payroll and much more. These digital badges require earners to successfully complete three courses at each level which could then create a pathway to the completion of an associate’s degree. These digital badges are displayed on the badge earners digital resume through a variety of social media platforms to include LinkedIn.

The FM business division identified the initial badging system through meetings with their business advisory board who represent a subset of industry leaders within the community. This advisory board embodies a cross-section of the local economy and includes delegates of proprietorships and corporations that also have a presence on the global stage, all of whom play a key role in the sustainability of our community. These employers rely on FM to fill the employment supply chain with qualified workers. These meetings help shape the design of curriculum and courses being offered to meet their hiring needs. This year’s advisory meeting focused on FM graduates’ employability skills needed to enter the workforce. The dialogue was enlightening as the employers advocated for students to develop their soft-skills. The constituents describe the term soft-skills to include the ability to communicate, show up to work on time, work in teams, create and deliver presentations, be analytical, meet deadlines and be independent thinkers. In short, the businesses want our FM graduates to be self-starters, problem solvers and workers who are motivated to be in their chosen career. These findings are important as they validate the skills being taught in a variety of programs at FM. The Business Division is no exception. The Division teaches these soft-skills in their business, entrepreneurship and accounting classes. For instance, students are required to work in teams on collaborative projects and present their analysis and findings in a variety of mediums. Hence, the initial development of the accounting and finance digital badges.

These findings have positive outcomes for FM’s current full-time students as well as those who want to return to college to continue their education. Sometimes the associate degree takes too long for a student who must balance work and family life. As a direct result of these discussions and the need to develop employability (soft) skills more badges are currently being investigated. These badges will address a variety of skills across multiple disciplines at FM to include medical coding, office staffing and computer applications.

If you would like to learn more about obtaining these employability skills or any of the programs, degrees, or badges being offered through the FM business division please contact Mark Swain mark.swain@fmcc.suny.edu, Charlene Dybas charlene.dybas@fmcc.suny.edu or Business Division Chair, Alexandra Henderson alexandra.henderson@fmcc.suny.edu

This article was written by Dr. Mark Swain, assistant professor of business, entrepreneurship, and accounting at Fulton-Montgomery Community College.


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