Roy Swift, Ph.D., executive director of Workcred, discussed theparadox of a skills mismatch in a low unemployment economy, and how Workcred is helping to identify collaborative solutions, during the Association of Test Publishers (ATP) Innovations in Testing 2019 conference in Orlando on March 18, 2019.
The presentation highlighted Workcred’s recent research study, supported by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), which examined the use of credentials in the manufacturing sector. U.S. manufacturing faces a skills gap – studies forecast an increase in output and productivity, but also predict a shortage of individuals with the right skills to fill the jobs. To help solve this mismatch and keep up with changing skill needs, Dr. Swift noted that a clearer understanding of how credentials are used and valued by the manufacturing industry is essential.
The study 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. The challenge to identify skilled workers is intensified by the tremendous growth and diversity of credentials that often lack transparency, quality, or market value, further contributing to the skills gap.
The recommendations in the report include calling for strengthened collaboration among system stakeholders (i.e., credentialing organizations, employers, education and training providers), as well as additional research to improve understanding of the return on investment (ROI) of manufacturing credentials, which will be essential to closing these gaps and providing credentials of value to all.
“Credentials can be part of the solution to closing the skills gap and helping individuals demonstrate that they possess the right skills,” says Dr. Swift. “But for this to occur, well-developed credentials must be aligned to current skill needs and updated so that they remain valid as skill requirements evolve.”
Workcred, an affiliate of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), works to connect and educate stakeholders to create a more integrated and effective credentialing system. For more information on its mission and activities, visit www.workcred.org.
Established in 1992, the Association of Test Publishers (ATP) is a non-profit organization representing providers of tests and assessment tools and/or services related to assessment, selection, screening, certification, licensing, educational, or clinical uses.