Workcred’s research services include partnerships and grants to examine workforce credentialing issues
and needs, and are currently focused on several key areas.

Examining the relationship between quality, labor market value, and effectiveness of credentials

With the tremendous growth of certifications in this country, it has become more difficult to discern quality certifications from those of lesser caliber. Workcred is examining the linkage between “quality,” “labor market value,” and effectiveness. Information gleaned from this research will be useful to employers who are creating criteria for the selection of credentials that have value for their organization; certification bodies to market the predictive validity of their credentials; states looking for quality certifications that align with their education programs; and individuals seeking credentials that will make a difference in obtaining employment and demonstrating value to the organization after employment.

Exploring the relationship among different types of credentials (e.g., certifications, degrees, certificates) to improve credential holders’ labor-market outcomes

In recent years there has been enormous growth in the number and variety of labor market credentials — college degrees, certificates, certifications, occupational licenses, and badges. It is important to understand the purpose of each credential and how credentials can be used in combination (e.g., earning a certification as part of a college degree) to improve individuals career and labor-market outcomes.

Mapping and integrating the credentialing landscape to create more defined credential pathways

To date, no known comprehensive mapping of credentials has been done that looks at the growth of specific credentials, how they are defined, and what, if any, the relationships are among the credentials. This type of information will help credential seekers understand how they would benefit more from one credential than another and how the credentials could be used to build a career pathway.

Using data to identify credential values and outcomes

Individuals and employers struggle to discern high quality credentials from those of lesser quality. They do not know why or when they should choose one over another and how they relate. For example, information obtained by linking different administrative data sets, can be used to improve education decision making and measure the return on investment of certification attainment.

See our current research projects on Our work page.

Research Highlights

Variable Impacts of New Credentials
for the Older Worker

Through the analysis, which is the first to use the Participant Individual Record Layout data files from the U.S. Department of Labor, this report examines the impact of new credentials on reemployment for older (50+ years) workers. Industry-recognized certificates and certifications were found to have the most value to older workers seeking employment after displacement with respect to reemployment and earnings.

This report, Understanding Certifications, is intended as a primer to help policymakers and practitioners navigate the complex and little understood “wild west” of certifications. Awarded by industry groups, professional associations, and companies, certifications have the potential to be useful tools in addressing re-employment, re-deployment, and re-education challenges that workers face in the current labor market.

To help U.S. manufacturing keep pace with changing skill needs, Workcred published a report that reveals key findings and details recommendations for manufacturers, credentialing organizations, educators, accreditors, and policymakers. The report, Examining the Quality, Market Value, and Effectiveness of Manufacturing Credentials in the United States, was funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP).