SHRM Launches 2 Specialty Credentials: Advanced Technology Strategic Capabilities


SHRM is now offering two new specialty credentials through its partnership with the California Institute of Technology’s (Caltech’s) Center for Technology and Management Education in Pasadena, Calif.

SHRM and Caltech established the credentials—Advanced Technology and Strategic Capabilities—to help HR professionals better understand big data, AI and cybersecurity.

“What SHRM recognized was that HR professionals often have difficulty contributing to corporate discussions about the implications of adopting new technologies or new strategies for their companies,” said Rick Hefner, executive director of the center.

“There are implications on hiring, there may be implications on [company] resources or partnering agreements and suppliers,” as well as effects on organizational structures and training for staff, he said.

For example, if a company decides to adopt artificial intelligence as a tool, HR professionals should know the kind of projects involved, what in-house programs to start and any new supplier agreements that would be involved, Hefner pointed out.

“If HR professionals and leaders use people analytics and AI appropriately, they can make more effective decisions, improve the employee experience and impact the bottom line,” said Alex Alonso, SHRM-SCP, chief knowledge officer at SHRM.

“Evolving their knowledge in this area can make them a powerhouse for their organizations as they future-proof themselves and apply a future-centric focus for their organizations,” added Alonso, who drove SHRM’s partnership with Caltech and is a recognized thought leader in the AI and HR technology fields.

[SHRM Featured Resource Page: Artificial Intelligence in the Workplace

Credential Courses

The credentials are offered through the Caltech Future Skills Academy.

“They are designed for the average HR professional who is dealing with the adoption of new technologies throughout the organization,” Hefner explained. There are no prerequisites for taking the credential courses, which were created specifically for SHRM to offer to HR professionals.

[Want to receive more information on the Advanced Technology and Strategic Capabilities credentials. Sign up on SHRM’s website.]

Each credential consists of six four-hour courses, which include lectures, quizzes and a final exam. Five of the courses are required; one is optional.

A series of resources for additional study are available for each course, and the instructors are leading tech professionals, researchers and consultants at the top of their fields, Hefner said.

“These are industry experts,” he noted.

The two tracks of specialty credentials will cover the following topics:

Advanced Technology

  • Artificial intelligence.
  • Virtual and augmented reality.
  • Natural language processing.
  • Blockchain.
  • Cloud computing.
  • Cybersecurity.
  • Multidimensional data modeling.
  • Systems thinking.
  • Data analytics.

Strategic Capabilities

  • Agility for strategy, leadership and organization.
  • Design thinking for HR.
  • Future of work and creating “Workforce 4.0.”
  • Innovation frameworks.
  • Marketing mindset and skills.
  • Leading change.
  • New-world people manager.
  • Supply chain fundamentals.
  • Platform strategy.

“The big thing to recognize is we don’t assume any technology background for the students,” Hefner said. “Companies are driven by these emerging new technologies. These are all critical areas HR needs to have some baseline understanding if they’re going to help their organizations adopt these new technologies. We’re trying to give them the basics to get them a seat at the table.”  


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