Credentialing experts, military personnel, and representatives from federal agencies and non-profit organizations convened at the American Legion National Credentialing Summit in Washington, D.C., last week to discuss collaborative solutions for facilitating the transition of military service members into civilian careers. Highlights of the April 28-29 event included interactive panel discussions on closing the skills gap, military spouse credentialing, best practices in transportation credentialing, and "Assessing the Quality and Value of Credentials," moderated by Roy Swift, Ph.D., executive director of Workcred, an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) affiliate.
According to the American Legion, "Military members gain valuable on-the-job training and certificates during their service that align with civilian job qualifications, but experience difficulty translating them into civilian licenses and certifications." Providing the summit's opening remarks, U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Tom Perez noted that a quarter of a million military personnel will leave service every year over the next several years, according to Department of Defense (DoD) estimates. Furthermore, he added that preparation for the incoming workforce is imperative, but there are currently barriers in licensing and credentialing. "We need to understand the core competencies that vets bring to the table to create credentials," he explained.
Leading the panel on quality credentials, Workcred's Dr. Swift said, "The fact that only 10 percent of the country's certifications are accredited creates a ‘buyer beware' environment." Steve Crawford, Ph.D., research professor at George Washington University's George Washington Institute of Public Policy (GWIPP) and an ANSI and Workcred Board member, was among the panelists offering insights on credentialing needs and best practices. GWIPP is collaborating with Workcred as part of the Credentialing Transparency Initiative, intended to help create a transparent and trustworthy marketplace through a credentialing registry. The initiative fosters coherence in the credentialing marketing place by outlining a common language for describing competencies, allowing people to compare credentials across certifications and degrees.
Vijay Krishna, ANSI's director of personnel credentialing accreditation programs, spoke about leveraging the credibility and quality of certifications through standards and accreditation. He noted five key global indicators of quality in credentialing programs: assessment, independence, quality accountability, impartiality, and stakeholders. The Society for Human Resource Management's (SHRM's) director of social engagement, Andrew Morton, spoke about military servicemen and emphasized the importance of the private sector, stressing that it needs to be included in efforts to support service members in civilian careers.
The event also featured panel discussions on approaches to credentialing by the armed forces and tracking credentialing outcomes. Now in its third year, the American Legion National Credentialing Summit serves as a forum to share progress and ways in which government and industry partners can better provide career pathways, especially critical as the private sector experiences job growth and certain industries such as manufacturing look to reverse the skills gap with top talent.
Workcred ‘s 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. An American National Standards Institute (ANSI) affiliate established in 2014, the organization was recently granted 501(c)(3) Status under United States Internal Revenue Code. Workcred maintains a separation from and respects the impartiality of ANSI's accreditation services.