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New Report on Addressing U.S. Hiring Difficulties Highlights the Importance of ANSI’s Workforce Accreditation Activities

New York, Oct 17, 2014
A recently published report from the New America Foundation has identified a number of policy issues that are significantly contributing to ongoing hiring difficulties suffered by U.S. employers, where many firms are struggling to fill open positions despite record numbers of recent college graduates and other job seekers. The report, Beyond the Skills Gap: Making Education Work for Students, Employers, and Communities, emphasizes the importance of accreditation in bolstering the legitimacy and transparency of workforce credentials and highlights the important role played by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in supporting these efforts.

Beyond the Skills Gap links issues with negative employment outcomes and problems that many employers face in filling positions with five specific U.S. policy gaps, including a lack of financial and governmental support for career education programs and other forms of competency-based training and education. The report calls for the U.S. government to expand financial aid eligibility from traditional university and community college degree programs to include students carrying out non-degree studies and individuals pursuing workforce credentials and other important skills training, among other steps.

The report, which was written by Mary Alice McCarthy, a senior policy analyst in the New America Foundation’s Education Policy Program, also discusses existing issues with many competency-based credentials currently available to individuals that reduce the utility of this increasingly popular type of workforce training. According to the report, many job seekers interested in obtaining certificates or other job-related training have difficulty comparing the value of different competency-based training programs and accurately assessing the degree to which a given certificate or credential is accepted in the industry they wish to join. The report suggests that ANSI’s work to improve the transparency, credibility, and portability of personnel credentials and education and training assessment–based certificates through accreditation “could serve as a guide for regional and programmatic accreditors and state agencies responsible for approving certificate programs.”

ANSI accreditation supports the effectiveness and validation of personnel certifications and certificate programs, offering a recognized mark of quality and oversight to the credentialing marketplace. ANSI accredits against the international and American National Standard ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024, Conformity assessment - General requirements for bodies operating certification of persons, the benchmark for personnel certification. This standard is designed to provide assurance that accredited personnel certifiers are appropriately assessing the knowledge and skills possessed by professionals and have a re-certification program in place to ensure continual updating of job-related knowledge and skills. ANSI also carries out important work in this area through the ANSI Certificate Accreditation Program (ANSI-CAP), which accredits organizations that issue education and training assessment–based certificates to the U.S. workforce. ANSI-CAP provides neutral, third-party attestation that a given certificate program meets ASTM E2659-09, Standard Practice for Certificate Programs, an American National Standard developed by ANSI member and audited designator ASTM International. To learn more about ANSI’s accreditation activities, visit

In order to support the creation of a competency-driven credentialing ecosystem, ANSI’s Board of Directors recently approved the creation of Workcred, a new ANSI affiliate. Workcred works to promote awareness of competency-based, industry-recognized workforce credentials and to support efforts to improve the quality, transparency, portability, and market value of these important tools. The new affiliate plans to carry out research projects on topics related to workforce credentialing, including the market value, predictive value, and industry alignment of these credentials, and to establish education and outreach initiatives related to workforce credentials and their use, among other activities. To learn more about Workcred and its activities, visit

Beyond the Skills Gap is available online for free download. To learn more about the New America Foundation’s work on education-related issues, visit