Publications and Events: Blog Posts



Standards – A Foundational Component of Quality Credentials
January 16, 2024 In today’s competitive job market, people from all areas of the workforce are familiar with certificates, certifications, and workplace learning—from students and employees who wish to further their careers, to employers seeking workers with specific skills. Critically, however, they often lack information on how to distinguish quality programs from those of lesser value.
Published by: Roy Swift, Executive Director, Workcred


September 28, 2023 There is surging interest in the development and use of non-degree credentials—such as certifications, certificates, and licenses—in the education and workforce communities, with a significant focus on understanding the value and use of these credentials. One significant challenge when tackling the questions that arise around this topic is the variety of existing credentials. Non-degree credentials vary in structure, scope, purpose, and quality, making it challenging to disentangle the impact of any single credential.
Published by: Isabel Cardenas-Navia, Senior Director of Research, Workcred
August 2, 2023 Workcred has published a new report examining the value of credentials and their use in the manufacturing sector: Examining the Return on Investment of Manufacturing Credentials. The report is a result of a grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), and reflects the views of individuals who work in the small- and medium-sized facilities that are a part of NIST’s national network of MEP Centers.
Published by: Isabel Cardenas-Navia, Workcred
Key Factors to Consider When Developing Microcredentials
May 11, 2023 Microcredentials are used by higher education institutions for multiple purposes that include adding knowledge, skills, or competencies that complement a major, to providing a pathway to certificate or degree programs. Though they vary significantly in their uses, they can provide benefits to learners, universities, and employers alike.
Published by: Karen Elzey, Workcred


Unlocking the Power of Certifications
December 12, 2022 With the increasing focus on competencies and skills-based hiring, why are certifications frequently left out of those conversations? After all, one of the strengths of certifications is the process that is used to identify and assess occupational knowledge and skills.
Published by: Workcred staff
Opening Doors to Different Pathways in Education
November 1, 2022 In 2021, Workcred joined the broadcast realm, partnering with RVN Television’s Morning Coffee Expert Series to bring greater clarity to the public on wide-ranging credentialing and workforce topics. One year later, Workcred’s executive director, Roy Swift, Ph.D., sat down with RVN Television’s talk show host and producer, Joe Asumendi, to assess the series and plans for the future.
Published by: Workcred staff
The Power of Systems Thinking
October 19, 2022 The United States credentialing system is very complex, involving many types of organizations and governmental agencies. Very few credentialing issuers fully understand how their actions may impact other credentialing issuers. For example, higher education institutions typically develop credentials through processes that are fully controlled by institutional faculty and administrators, who may not consider how their credentials relate to credentials issued by other organizations.
Published by: Workcred staff
Four Advantages of Certifications as Alternative Credentials
September 13, 2022 Obtaining new credentials is a common strategy for workers looking to reskill in advance of a career change or re-employment following a layoff. Increasingly, individuals are seeking credentials, such as certificates, certifications, and badges, in order to maximize their marketability to employers or advance within their current position.
Published by: Workcred staff
The Link Between Recertification and Competency
July 20, 2022 One key distinction between a certification and other credentials is its ability to signal continued competence in a profession, making it the only credential that indicates its holders’ commitments to lifelong learning. This distinction is due to the recertification requirements which individuals must fulfill to maintain their certifications. However, there is significant variation in how different professions, and how different certification bodies even within the same profession, decide to handle recertification.
Published by: Kyle Albert, GWIPP
Fact or Fiction? Five Myths about Certificates
June 22, 2022 Certificates play a vital role in today’s skills-based economy, signaling to employers the learning outcomes that potential hires have achieved, and allowing job seekers to gain specific skills and knowledge to bolster their progress on a desired career path. In spite of their growing visibility—in 2020 there were 318,792 unique certificates, which is an increase of 20.7 percent since 2019 (Credential Engine, Counting U.S. postsecondary and secondary credentials, 2021)—many misconceptions about certificates persist among employers and employees alike. These “myths” can hold people back from obtaining valuable credentials to increase their knowledge and boost their desirability to employers.
Published by: Workcred staff
How Much Do You Know About Certifications?
May 17, 2022 In the world of competencies and credentials—certificates, certifications, degrees, badges, and licenses—there are a lot of details and nuances that can be overwhelming. Perhaps the most confusion surrounds the differences between certifications and certificates—two types of credentials that individuals can pursue to further their careers, each with distinct requirements, indications, and specifications.
Published by: Workcred staff
Certifications Offer Value to Learners and Employers
May 3, 2022
As the pandemic recedes, the emerging global marketplace is characterized by a shortage of talent to fill rapidly changing skills needs. In this market, employers are seeking efficiencies in the process for recruiting and vetting qualified talent and are looking for signals that jobseekers possess needed skills and competencies enabling them to perform on the job. Workers and learners are opting for shorter-term credentials over degrees to gain the skills they need in pursuit of satisfying employment. With the myriad of credentials in the marketplace, how do learners know which credentials will truly prepare them to meet their career aspirations? And how do employers know what the credentials provided on a job application really mean the applicant can do? Corporation for a Skilled Workforce (CSW) research points to the role certifications can play in answering these questions and adding value for both workers and employers.
Published by: Corporation for a Skilled Workforce
Certification Bodies Need Incentives to Collect & Share High-Quality Data
April 13, 2022
Workcred’s issue briefs on certification pathways, quality assurance, recertification, and policy/operational recommendations focused on different aspects of certifications. One commonality among the publications was that they all highlighted the need for additional data to better understand certifications. Recommendations for data in these briefs were wide-ranging: from data to better support recertification activities to employment outcomes data. While there are multiple challenges to collecting and sharing data on certifications, one of the biggest is gaining the cooperation and trust of certification bodies to collect and share data.
Published by: Workcred staff
The Reality and Potential of Certifications
March 28, 2022
A new series of reports co-published by Workcred, Corporation for a Skilled Workforce, and the George Washington Institute of Public Policy serve as a resource to help policymakers, practitioners, employers, and funders better understand the characteristics of certifications, and their potential to help people enter the labor market, obtain a career goal, or reskill for a new career.
Published by: Workcred staff
The Importance of Collaboration for Certifications
February 25, 2022
Workcred has developed a set of case studies that reveal just how powerful collaboration is to certifications. In fact, collaboration among key stakeholders can have a positive and long-term impact on credentials and workforce development, as outlined in each of the case studies showcased in this series. Each study also describes the purpose and need of the credential, the partners involved, and the challenges and lessons learned from using a collaborative model.
Published by: Workcred staff
Are Pandemic-Related Changes Negatively Affecting the Quality of Credentials?
February 17, 2022
For more than 50 years, the credentialing industry has operated under accepted standards for the development and ongoing maintenance of credentials to help ensure the validity and reliability of the examinations and the programs they represent. During the last two years in particular, many changes and sometimes shortcuts have been made in the credentialing industry, specifically in certification and licensure, in response to the 2020-2022 COVID-19 international pandemic. Changes that the industry would never have accepted and adopted previously, such as suspension of eligibility criteria or elimination of competence verification, are now becoming more and more commonplace. The question for the credentialing industry is: are the changes that have been rapidly ramped up in the last two years due to the pandemic, and as a sustainability response to the emergency the pandemic created, actually an improvement? Or are they actually affecting the quality of credentials?
Published by: Workcred staff and Professional Testing, Inc.
How are Certifications Supported by Standards
January 20, 2022
New video series, Standardization and Workforce Credentials, sheds light on the role of voluntary standards in supporting quality certifications for the U.S. workforce. Featuring insights from credentialing experts, the series highlights how certifications that meet standards gain credibility with industry and have been proven as effective in the workplace.
Published by: Workcred staff


More Than a Digital Transcript
August 18, 2021
A recent publication in Issues in Science and Technology – “Everything You’ve Ever Learned,” co-authored by Workcred’s Isabel Cardenas-Navia and New America’s Shalin Jyotishi – explores Learning and Employment Records (LERs), digital records detailing a person’s education, training, and work experience that are verified through a distributed system similar to blockchain. The article explores how LERs offer a promising solution to the challenge of capturing and communicating the skills of individual workers to a wide selection of potential employers. The publication also explores the need for LERs to be carefully designed to achieve more equitable, socially desirable outcomes, rather than intensifying existing inequities or disproportionately benefitting one group over another. Very simply, LERs are another new technology with the tremendous potential to benefit individuals and organizations, but whose ultimate impact will be shaped by the human-technology partnership that is developed. The blog outlines an example of how adoption of LERs could unintentionally exacerbate inequity, as well as three recommendations for mitigation.
Published by: Workcred staff
Variable Impacts of New Credentials for the Older Worker
March 10, 2021
Several factors may deter older workers (age 50+) from pursuing training. Some might question the return on investment for new skills and credentials as one approaches traditional retirement ages. Others likely feel extreme anxiety about reentering the classroom after decades away from educational institutions.
Published by: Workcred staff
Education & Training Support to Prepare for Certifications
January 15, 2021
Certification bodies provide broad access to materials, education, and/or training for certification exam preparation, ranging from endorsed curriculum delivered by postsecondary higher education institutions to self-study guide to online courses. Nearly 70% of certification bodies provide study guides to all individuals seeking their certifications, and work with a wide variety of education and training providers.
Published by: Workcred staff
Demand For Certifications Increasing During Pandemic
January 13, 2021
Survey data showing that demand for certifications is increasing due to the pandemic is consistent with what is seen with other credentials. This data strongly suggests that individuals and employers see certifications as a pathway to new and/or continued employment. The survey also showed that certification bodies are working to develop micro-certifications and specializations in certifications. This may reflect an emerging trend toward micro-credentialing that has emerged in postsecondary education.
Published by: Workcred staff
Certification Bodies are Well-Positioned to Link Data
January 11, 2021
Survey data shows that certification bodies are ready to participate in linking their administrative data with other administrative data, in terms of already collecting data or being willing to collect additional data needed for accurate data matching.
Published by: Workcred staff


Certifications Lead to Meaningful Careers During Economic Recovery and Beyond
December 14, 2020
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.
Published by: Workcred staff
Understanding Certifications
December 10, 2020
Enormous economic shifts predating and accelerated by the current worldwide pandemic caused by COVID-19 — and the growing awakening to racial inequities in the U.S. — are creating a labor market in which the use of certifications has the potential to grow significantly. But what exactly is a certification? And how does it differ from other types of credentials?
Published by: Workcred staff
Embedding Certifications Into Bachelor’s Degree
December 4, 2020
There is a lack of understanding in the workforce of the different types of credentials and how they can work together to improve student success and employability outcomes. Certifications can be used to enhance a college education with specific skills needed by employers, resulting in students earning a certification while pursuing their degree or earning a certification at the end of their degree program, achieving a more comprehensive education.
Published by: Workcred staff


Are Employers Using Credentials to the Fullest?
August 22, 2018 Through this blog, Dr. Swift explains how credentialing can be improved to help employers keep pace with changing skill needs.
Published by: the Committee for Economic Development of the Conference Board