Press release

Virginia’s New College Institute Expands Nationwide with Interoperable Digital Credentials

Sponsored by Businesswire

New College Institute (NCI) has partnered with verified identity platform Merit to provide its students with free, continuous access to all digital credentials earned during their educational experience, while giving them the ability to connect to relevant job opportunities based on those credentials. With the enhanced interoperability of Merit’s platform, NCI will have the ability to expand access to its degree and certification programs, courses, and opportunities beyond students in rural Southern Virginia to learners across the United States.

“New College Institute is more than an educational institution, we are also deeply connected to labor and workforce programs and committed to ensuring that our students have a pathway into their chosen career. By providing them with a digital wallet of verified, portable credentials, students from anywhere in the country will now be able to participate in our programs and get connected digitally with potential training and job opportunities in their regions,” said NCI Interim Executive Director Karen Jackson.

Using the Merit platform, NCI will digitally issue credentials to students, providing a digital record of completed trainings that are then automatically linked to job opportunities as well as additional experiential learning programs sent directly to the student. Given the current heightened unemployment, this platform gives NCI students a convenient way to view their progress toward their career goals, while providing the school with actionable data to see whether their students are on track with the courses and programs that will be the most effective in preparing them for successful futures.

“Merit is built to provide solutions to the challenge of keeping track of credentials in a way that propels individuals toward their best chance of success,” said Merit COO Jacob Orrin. “We are thrilled to be partnering with NCI to give their students a seamless way to connect educational programs and employment opportunities that we hope will become the tools to better shape their futures.”

About Merit

Merit’s verified identity platform brings visibility, liquidity, and trust to people-data, giving organizations the clarity to make better-informed decisions, engage with individuals effectively, and pursue their mission efficiently. Merit works with trusted private, state, and municipal organizations to solve critical real-world problems in sectors such as workforce development, emergency services, licensing, education, and defense readiness. The COVID-19 crisis has transformed workforce development and emergency services, requiring states and municipalities to innovate and streamline critical services, such as reemployment and COVID-19 vaccination programs, using solutions like Merit. Find out more at

About New College Institute

New College Institute is a state-funded educational entity that provides access to degree programs (bachelor, master, and doctorate) through partnerships with Virginia colleges and universities. NCI strives to be accessible and convenient for students of all ages. Staff, faculty, and board members are all committed to making NCI a premier educational facility for students, businesses, and the community at large. In addition to college-level degree and certification programs, NCI offers experiential learning opportunities such as the NCI Internship Program and regional cybersecurity and engineering competitions. Additional programs such as NCI’s summer camps, LIFE (Learning Is ForEver), and financial aid resource events encourage and promote continued education throughout the Martinsville-Henry County region.