According to Dr. Bird, a stronger commitment to industry-recognized credentials and a system of common standards that supports them is critical to strengthening the American labor market. A competency-based credentialing system can reduce employer search and transaction costs, increase job security and portability, and help ensure competitive, quality jobs.
In his presentation, Dr. Bird stressed the importance of aligning competencies, standards, and credentials to support "outcome performance measures" - a student's ability to demonstrate what has been learned - rather than "input measures" such as credit hours. Credentials, Dr. Bird emphasized, should reliably communicate to employers that students and workers have the competencies they need to be successful in the labor market.
Dr. Bird urged the Southern Governors' Association to promote the joint establishment of standards, credentials, and quality assurance mechanisms that link business and education. He also called for the governors to champion the transformation professional development at the postsecondary level by supporting "stackable" credentials and embedding industry certifications in curricula.