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University of Phoenix Leadership Joins 2023 PESC Summit

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Hillary Halpern and Monterey Sims join the event to discuss data-driven approaches for addressing skills gaps and microcredentials in educational environments

PHOENIX–(BUSINESS WIRE)–University of Phoenix is pleased to share that Senior Director of Program Deployment, Hillary Halpern, M.B.A., and Director, Admissions & Evaluation, Monterey Sims, will join the proceedings of the PESC Privacy & Interoperability Summit 2023. The in-person event, titled “Advancing Education through Digital Transformation: Collaborating for Success,” takes place November 7-9 at the Hilton Arlington National Landing in Arlington, VA. Focused on fostering collaboration and leveraging technology to enhance educational experiences, the event offers attendees practical methods and pathways to support digital transformation in education.

Halpern will be a panelist for the summit session titled “Workforce Outcomes and Skills-based Hiring,” which will examine the rapidly changing educational landscape as well as demands from employers in today’s workforce. Sims will be moderating several sessions at the event, including “Microcredentials for Student Mobility and Data Portability,” which also features Halpern as a panelist and will examine the role of microcredentials in K-12 and higher education.

“The PESC summit is a fantastic opportunity to share the many ways in which University of Phoenix recognizes skills-based hiring and has responded by aligning curriculum with the demands of the workforce,” shares Halpern. “I’m honored to be a part of a panel conversation alongside so many accomplished education and workforce professionals, and I look forward to sharing best practices and innovative approaches with my colleagues and event attendees.”

Sims says that the continual alignment of programs, skills and workforce demands is a critical component of higher education because it allows adult learners to showcase skills to potential employers. “Both skills aligned courses and microcredentials empower adult learners to demonstrate their knowledge in a way that is timely and meaningful to potential employers. Skills-based hiring does affect the future of education, and so we are pleased to share our work on skills-aligned curriculum, but also on student mobility and data portability at this event.”

Skills-mapped degree programs aim to help meet the needs of both job seekers and employers in an environment where employers report a high need for skilled workers. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 75% of HR professionals who have difficulty recruiting talent blame it on a skills gap among job applicants. The University of Phoenix Career Institute® 2023 Career Optimism Index® found that 70% of American workers say if their company gave them more opportunities to apply new skills, they would be more likely to stay throughout their career.

Halpern has been with University of Phoenix for 16 years and currently serves as the Senior Director Program Deployment, where she has leveraged her in-depth insights from her student support and process improvement background to develop, improve, and maintain the University Program Lifecycle (UPL) process. Recognized as “Rookie of the Year” examiner award in 2017 from Southwest Alliance of Excellence (SWAE), she has served as a lead examiner for the SWAE and as a speaker on process improvement at regional and national conferences. Halpern has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Arizona State University, and a Master of Business Administration and Graduate Certificate in Human Resource Management from University of Phoenix. She recently co-authored a University of Phoenix white paper on establishing a skills ecosystem at a career-focused higher education institution.

Sims serves as a Director of Admissions and Evaluation at the University of Phoenix and volunteers on the Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council (PESC) Board of Directors. During her 30-year career at the University she has participated in a variety of process improvement initiatives including implementation of Electronic Transcript Exchange (ETX) and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). Sims is directly responsible for the Office of Admissions Document Processing division which includes overseeing the acquisition and processing of admission documents and transcripts from prior attended institutions for University applicants. She also serves on the AACRAO Standardization of Postsecondary Education Record Electronic Data Exchange (SPEEDE) Committee and the eTrans California Steering Committee.

Learn more here about PESC.

About University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix innovates to help working adults enhance their careers and develop skills in a rapidly changing world. Flexible schedules, relevant courses, interactive learning, skills-mapped curriculum for our bachelor’s and master’s degree programs and a Career Services for Life® commitment help students more effectively pursue career and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. For more information, visit


Michele Mitchum

University of Phoenix