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Credential Transparency Initiative Debuts Groundbreaking Technology to Transform Credentialing Ecosystem

New Non-Profit Set to Take the Effort Mainstream


The Credential Transparency Initiative (CTI), a Lumina Foundation-funded effort, demonstrated the capability of its new Credential Registry today at a major workforce event in Washington, DC.

More than 275 leaders from the business, higher education, and credentialing communities gathered in person with another 175 attending via webcast for On the Road to Improving the Credentialing Ecosystem: Next Steps for the Credential Registry, where participants saw the first public demonstration of a credential search app powered by the registry and had an opportunity to provide input into the registry’s continued development.

Today’s credentialing marketplace is a confusing maze of certifications, degrees, certificates, licenses, badges, and other micro-credentials that are difficult to understand and navigate. Job seekers, students, and workers have more choice than ever to help them get ahead, but a lack of transparency in credentials causes confusion for them and for employers looking to build their workforce. Using web 3.0 technologies, the registry enables job seekers, students, workers, and employers to easily search for and compare credentials, similar to the way travel apps are used to compare flights, rental cars, and hotels.

And to help take this effort mainstream, a new non-profit organization, Credential Engine, has been formed to improve transparency in the credentialing marketplace. As announced at today’s event, Credential Engine will pursue this mission by maintaining the open-licensed Credential Registry (CR) and Credential Transparency Description Language (CTDL) and promoting an open applications marketplace.

“Business leaders are committed to supporting new tools that allow students and workers to prepare for the world of work, and the Credential Transparency Initiative is the first step,” said John Engler, president of Business Roundtable. “Today’s announcement of Credential Engine will take the idea of transparency regarding credentials to an even higher level, delivering a vehicle for employers to connect with providers that are preparing employees with the right knowledge and skills to succeed on the job.”

“This work has the potential to bring greater transparency to both degrees and non-degree credentials to provide employers, education providers, and learners with credible, transparent, and up-to-date information on the meaning and value of postsecondary credentials,” said Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of Lumina Foundation. “We believe this approach will expand postsecondary education opportunity and increase attainment through clearer linkages between credentials and careers, smoother transitions between education providers, and innovative, flexible pathways for all kinds of learners.”

“It is vital for the higher education community to explore innovative and flexible options for students looking to ease their path to degree completion to gain credentials that can help them gain employment and advance in their careers,” said Molly Corbett Broad, president of the American Council on Education, who was among the speakers at today’s event. “This is important work that is being conducted by the Credential Transparency Initiative. The next steps for the Credential Registry that were unveiled today will go a long way toward advancing those goals and enabling both the higher education and business communities to better serve millions of nontraditional learners.”

Held at the Newseum in Washington DC, On the Road to Improving the Credentialing Ecosystem: Next Steps for the Credential Registry featured panels of workforce and credentialing leaders who highlighted opportunities and benefits created by the registry for job seekers and students, employers, credentialing organizations, the education community, the military, and more. Additional details about the event, including speaker bios and event proceedings, are available on the conference event page.

About CTI

The CTI is led by a partnership among George Washington University’s Institute of Public Policy (GWIPP), Workcred – an affiliate of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), and Southern Illinois University (SIU) Carbondale’s Center for Workforce Development.

About the George Washington Institute of Public Policy

The George Washington Institute of Public Policy is a research center at the George Washington University that has special strengths in workforce development, postsecondary education, and labor market analysis.

About Workcred

Formed in 2014 as an affiliate of the American National Standards Institute, Workcred is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to strengthen workforce quality by improving the credentialing system, ensuring its ongoing relevance, and preparing employers, workers, educators, and governments to use it effectively.

About SIU

Southern Illinois University Carbondale is a public doctoral research university serving 17,989 students. SIU’s Center for Workforce Development implements education, leadership and technology advancement initiatives that support the development of a college- and career-ready workforce.

About Business Roundtable

Business Roundtable's CEO members lead companies with more than $6 trillion in annual revenues and nearly 15 million employees. The combined market capitalization of BRT member companies is the equivalent of nearly one-quarter of total U.S. stock market capitalization and BRT members invest $103 billion annually in research and development – equal to 30 percent of U.S. private R&D spending. Our companies pay $226 billion in dividends to shareholders and generate $412 billion in revenues for small and medium-sized businesses annually. BRT companies also make more than $7 billion a year in charitable contributions.

About Lumina Foundation

Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation committed to increasing the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees, certificates, and other credentials to 60 percent by 2025. Lumina’s outcomes-based approach focuses on helping to design and build an accessible, responsive, and accountable higher education system while fostering a national sense of urgency for action to achieve Goal 2025.


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