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In an Era of Accountability, the Certification of Workers Carries Weight

Conference on Personnel Certification Sheds Light on International Standard

Washington, DC, Jun 23, 2004

Much has been made in recent months about the accountability of personnel – from airport screeners to educators to prison interrogators. To attest to accountability, many companies and organizations doing business worldwide turn to certification as a means of securing the value of their workforce. An international standard (ISO/IEC 17024 - General Requirements for Bodies Operating Certification of Persons) approved in 2003 with worldwide consensus has set the bar for what constitutes an effective certification body, and can help certification agencies determine how well they are performing.

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) – coordinator of the U.S. standards and conformity assessment system – will host a two-day conference in Washington, DC, to explain the 17024 standard, examine its relationship to quality, and explore its significance to accreditation and certification agencies. Titled the “International Personnel Certification Summit: The 21st Century Solution to Workforce Competitiveness,” the event will take place at the Jurys Hotel in Washington, DC, July 13-14, 2004.

Along with the general public, federal and state government regulators are driving the need for increased accountability in the personnel certification arena domestically. However, the benefits a quality personnel certification body gains through the mechanism of independent, third party accreditation transcend national boundaries.

“Earning ANSI accreditation under ISO/IEC 17024 demonstrates (ISC)2’s continued commitment to ensuring that holders of the Certified Information Systems Professional (CISSP) certification are qualified to develop, deploy and manage information security policies and programs anywhere in the world,” said James R. Wade, CISSP, past president of (ISC)2, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating, qualifying and certifying information security professionals worldwide. Wade will be among the presenters speaking at the summit.

While there is no officially recognized list of certification agencies in the U.S., it is estimated that there are approximately 1,200 bodies that have never been objectively evaluated. “This summit will help to define what the American public can expect from certified individuals. It will also equip certification bodies with an understanding of the value of accreditation from a reliable, independent third party, and the impact of ISO/IEC 17024 on their particular industry,” said Dr. Roy Swift, ANSI director of the personnel certifier accreditation program.

The summit will welcome Thomas Dowd, deputy assistant secretary, employment and training administration, in the U.S. Department of Labor, who will serve as the keynote speaker. He will be joined by panelists from the Department of Defense, the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Consumers League, and more.

Participants will discuss the diverse influences on the need for increased accountability in the personnel certification arena, and will demystify the international system for accrediting personnel certification bodies. The agenda will also include a review of the specific requirements of the ANSI Accreditation Process for Personnel Certification Bodies.

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to enhance U.S. global competitiveness and the American quality of life by promoting, facilitating, and safeguarding the integrity of the voluntary standardization and conformity assessment system. Comprised of businesses, professional societies and trade associations, standards developers, government agencies, and consumer and labor organizations, the ANSI Federation represents the diverse interests of more than 120,000 entities and 3.2 million professionals worldwide.

ANSI is the official U.S. representative to International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and, via the U.S. National Committee, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). The ANSI-Registrar Accreditation Board National Accreditation Program (ANSI-RAB NAP) is a founding member of the International Accreditation Forum (IAF). ANSI currently has offices in New York City and Washington, DC.

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