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


With the emergence of so many different types of credentials in the marketplace, determining the return on investment of certifications or certificates can be a challenge. In its ongoing effort to educate the public about how data can provide information about the value of credentials in the labor market, Workcred has launched a new blog series.

In the first blog post, Certification Bodies are Well-Positioned to Link Data and Deepen Understanding of ROI of Certifications, Isabel Cardenas-Navia, Workcred's director of research, provides insights on the need for centralized data on certifications and gives insights on Workcred's project that links certification data with degree and employment data.

Workcred is convening a network of certification bodies to explore the potential for data-linking efforts to improve understanding of the value of certifications, the labor market outcomes of individuals who hold them, and insights into successful career pathways into the workforce. Funded by Lumina Foundation, the network is working with the National Student Clearinghousea non-profit and non-governmental organization that provides educational reporting, data exchange, verification, and research servicesto link data from certification bodies, educational attainment and enrollment data from universities, and aggregate labor market outcomes from the U.S. Census Bureau.

“The opportunity to tap into data sets well beyond what we could collect on our own is very exciting," said Marya Ryan, program director of the Board of Certified Safety Professionals. "Being able to see the big picture of our credential holders’ educational and career journeys will enable us to better support them—and to demonstrate value to those who are considering obtaining credentials.”

In its own blog, the Clearinghouse reveals how data empowers education and workforce organizations to make good decisions. It details how preliminary results of its Industry Certification Education and Performance Data System pilot have offered an opportunity for empirical research into the effectiveness of obtaining certain types of certifications within manufacturing.

“Our pilot project with manufacturing certifications has produced preliminary results that show the value of manufacturing certification pathways to the workforce,” explained Vanessa Brown, deputy chief data officer at the Clearinghouse. “Our goal in 2021 is to expand this pilot and explore labor market outcomes for additional certifications.”

Last year, Workcred's associate executive director, Karen Elzey, elaborated on this effort at the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE) Exchange conference, where she provided insights about how credentialing bodies are facing challenges from the emergence of different types of credentials. For example, she noted that to remain relevant, credentialing bodies need to better define the return on investment for their certification or certificate.

"We are excited to kick-off 2021 with an increased focus on the importance of data-linking to empower certification knowledge," said Dr. Roy Swift, executive director, Workcred. "This is especially relevant at a time when people are looking for information to make more informed choices about the types of credentials that will help leverage their resumes and skill sets in a challenging labor market."

Access the blog series on


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


[email protected]

Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


[email protected]