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Workcred connects and educates stakeholders to create a more integrated and effective credentialing system. Quality credentials have credibility with industry, meet quality standards, and have proven value in the workplace. Read on for highlights of the ANSI affiliate organization's accomplishments in support of quality credentialing in 2022-2023.

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Ensuring Credentials Have Value

The success of the U.S. economy depends on people having the right skills for the marketplace, and employers being able to find those skilled workers. To help address these needs, Workcred is producing new research and implementing projects that provide insights and promising practices for individuals to obtain skills for in-demand jobs with livable wages, and help employers fill their talent needs.

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Examining Policies to Support Learners

Workcred is leading a number of new activities that examine and align career and credential pathways and institutional policies at community colleges with state policies and regional workforce needs. If there is alignment, then low-income and first-generation learners will have more opportunities to complete industry certification, certificate, and degree pathways, earn postsecondary credentials of value that signal their strong learning foundation and their job-ready skills, and enter the workforce.

Determining Which Credentials Manufacturers and Workers Value Most

As part of its long-term research to assess how to effectively use credentials to support a competitive manufacturing workforce, Workcred, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), released a 2023 report on Examining the Return on Investment of Manufacturing Credentials.

For the U.S. manufacturing industry in need of talent and those looking to upskill, quality credentials can bolster effectiveness, efficiency, and performance of the labor market and improve the quality of the U.S. workforce. The report identifies how employers and workers value credentials, which credentials they value, and recommendations to support a highly skilled and efficient manufacturing workforce. 

Building Quality Credentials That Convey Skills and Competencies

Workcred continues to support institutions of higher education to develop credentials that represent the skills most needed in the labor market. Workcred is partnering with four community colleges to embed information technology and healthcare certifications into associate degrees so that students receive both a broad based education and the technical skills required by employers.

Microcredentials also provide opportunities for students to signal their skills and competencies to employers. Workcred and the University of Texas System (UT System) released a report, Integrating Microcredentials into Undergraduate Experiences, that provides a framework to guide the development and implementation of microcredentials. Workcred will continue to work with the UT System by conducting a series of workshops to develop policies, processes, and procedures that support the development of microcredentials.

Additionally, Workcred is helping to address the need for certifications for direct healthcare workers by bringing its expertise to support the development of a series of competency-based certifications that will help to professionalize the direct healthcare workforce in Michigan and, in doing so, increase the number of qualified workers who have economic security.

Identifying the Return on Investment for Non-Degree Credentials 

There continues to be an emphasis by policymakers, employers, and learners to understand the outcomes associated with earning credentials. The key to understanding outcomes such as employment and wages is to have data. Workcred launched a Research-to-Action Fund in early 2023 to help reveal the value of certifications to promote labor market outcomes. The fund will initially support research to connect data on industry-recognized certifications with educational attainment and aggregate earnings data to better understand career and credential pathways into the workforce.

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Raising Awareness

The number and types of credentials continue to expand, thereby creating confusion for individuals and employers. Workcred continues to provide information about the value and use of credentials through various media—including expert appearances on RVN Television’s Morning Coffee Series. Episodes have highlighted certifications and careers in sterile processing and health information management as well how to evaluate non-degree credentials, among others. Click below to view the latest episodes. 

Looking ahead, Workcred will continue to expand its impact with even more engaging publications, presentations, and micro-chats that support an effective credentialing system and strong and dynamic workforce for the future. Keep up with all the latest here.