More than 650,000 unique credentials are currently offered in the U.S. todayfrom degrees, certifications, and certificates to badges, boot camps, and nanodegrees. The tremendous growth in the type and number of credentials is presenting the certification community with new challenges and opportunities, as employers, consumers, and policymakers increasingly demand proof of the quality, value, and return on investment (ROI) of credentials.
Roy Swift, Ph.D., executive director of Workcred, discussed the variety of challenges facing certification bodiesand how Workcred is helping to advance collaborative solutionsat a Certification Network Group (CNG) meeting on February 27, 2019, in Chicago.
Dr. Swift highlighted Workcred's 2018 research study examining the use of credentials in the manufacturing sector, which revealed that many manufacturers do not appear to be aware of existing credentials or how they could provide added value in terms of reduced cost and training time. He spoke of the report's recommendations including those calling for strengthened collaboration among credentialing organizations, employers, and education and training providers as well as additional research under exploration to improve understanding of the ROI of manufacturing credentials.
Citing insufficient opportunities for students to earn credentials with labor market value and build those credentials toward a degree, Dr. Swift also discussed Workcred's partnership with the Association of Public Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UCPEA) to explore how students can earn both degrees and certifications as part of their four-year degree program. Under a Lumina Foundation grant, Workcred, APLU, and UPCEA will host a series of convenings to facilitate coordination between higher education institutions and credentialing bodies. The output of the convenings will be a framework laying the groundwork for potential pilot programs to test different strategies and practices to better align certifications and degrees.
Dr. Swift also discussed Workcred's efforts to advance research exploring the effect of recertification on long-term labor market outcomes, as well as how effectiveness of recertification is measured in a variety of occupations and industries.
"Through research, convenings, and other activities, Workcred is committed to facilitating a more integrated and effective credentialing system, and to strengthening relationships between the certification community, the broader education and workforce community, and employers," said Dr. Swift.
CNG is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide opportunities, relationship building, education, and resources for certification professionals to support their initiatives in certification, accreditation, and customer service. The February meeting drew attendees from the credentialing community in the greater Chicago area and from across the Midwest.
Workcred, an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) affiliate 501(c)3 organization, works to connect and educate stakeholders to create a more integrated and effective credentialing system. For more information on its activities, visit www.workcred.org.