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Credentials for Workers Over 50: Workcred Debuts New Report

3/09/2021
ANSI News

For workers 50 and older navigating the job market, non-degree credentials are the most popular credential format with the highest overall value, a new report from Workcred finds. Data from the report, "Variable Impacts of New Credentials for the Older Worker," reveal challenges that Generation X workers and older populations may face—from job displacement to age discrimination—and how credentials can be a valuable asset to this segment of workers.

Workcred's director of research, Isabel Cardenas-Navia, Ph.D., shared the findings during a recent Federal Reserve event on Uneven Outcomes in the Labor Market: Understanding Trends and Identifying Solutions. Researchers, policymakers, and practitioners at the conference examined disparities in employment, labor force participation, income, and wealth across demographic groups. Dr. Cardenas-Navia joined panelists Julie L. Hotchkiss of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta; Ryan James Parsons, doctoral candidate at Princeton University; and Chauncy Lennon of Lumina Foundation during the education and credentials session of the conference.

As highlighted at the event, Workcred's report analysis is the first to use the Participant Individual Record Layout (PIRL) data files published by the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration to examine the impact of new credentials on reemployment for older workers. The data focuses on the age 50+ population (“older workers”) that are eligible for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Adult or WIOA Displaced Worker programs because of significant barriers to employment. The data show that most WIOA-funded workers who obtain a credential at age 50+ earn a non-degree credential.

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which was signed into law in 2014, serves to help job seekers access employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor market and to match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy.

Additional findings of the report reveal:

  • New credentials are valuable to older workers when seeking employment after displacement, with non-degree credentials having the most value for older workers.
  • Non-degree credentials are the most popular credential format for older workers and offer the highest overall value.
  • Industry-recognized certificates and certifications are completed by 85.7% of the age 50+ workers who pursue them.
  • Certifications and industry-recognized certificates have similar completion rates relative to all credentials and have higher reemployment rates and higher post-training earnings.

The report is part of Workcred's ongoing effort to educate the public about how data can provide information about the value of credentials in the labor market. “Workcred’s research highlights the value that new credentials can play in supporting older workers. This analysis offers new insight into how non-degree credentials can support individuals seeking reemployment, career advancement, or a career change,” explains Dr. Cardenas-Navia.

Access and read the report, "Variable Impacts of New Credentials for the Older Worker."

Read related news: Workcred Launches Blog Series: Understanding Successful Career Pathways with Certification and Education Data

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