Letter from the Workcred Executive Director - January 2022 - Credentials and the Workforce: A Look Ahead Letter from the Workcred Executive Director - January 2022 - Credentials and the Workforce: A Look Ahead

January 2022

Roy A. Swift, Ph.D. COL

Credentials and the Workforce:
A Look Ahead

Here’s some good news to start off 2022: the labor-market recovery is on the uptick, with wages growing faster than at any point in the decade before the pandemic. Amidst the inspiring forecast, I’m happy to share how the Workcred team has already launched into action to showcase how credentials support employability—and improve the development and experiences of workers and employers alike.

As we continue to expand our digital media offerings, this month, Workcred launched an exciting four-part video series, Standardization and Workforce Credentials. Joined by experts Cynthia Woodley, vice president, chief operating officer, and psychometrician at Professional Testing, Inc., and Rob Pedigo, CEO of Pedigo and Associates, the videos take a deeper look at the role of voluntary standards in supporting quality personnel certifications for the U.S. workforce. What’s more, the series amplifies various expert perspectives on how certifications that meet standards indicate a level of quality that can benefit both job seekers who need to convey their skills and employers who are looking for candidates with skills to match their job openings.


You can also tune in to more videos as part of our ongoing guest appearances on RVN Television’s Morning Coffee broadcast. The latest episode, available on our YouTube page, features our associate executive director Karen Elzey, who talks about the benefits of pursuing a certification and shares how certifications facilitate life-long learning.

Recently lending her expertise, senior director of research Isabel Cardenas-Navia, joined a joint Zócalo-Issues in Science and Technology event, “Is It Time to Throw Away Our Resumes?,” for which she honed in on our recent article, “Everything You’ve Ever Learned,” exploring learning and employment records (LERs) as a digital solution to some of the challenges that resumes present. Dr. Cardenas-Navia noted the potential and pitfalls of this new technology, which can offer workers a fairer way to document and verify their knowledge and expertise. While LERs are a data source that different stakeholders in the education and workforce system could potentially use, defining the value of using LERs is vital.

Speaking of data, Workforce data will be the key to success for any credential in this information- technology world. To this end, Workcred continues to work with certification bodies to explore linking data so that individuals, employers, and policymakers can make more informed choices about the return on investment of certifications. We are happy to share the tools that have been developed for Workcred’s Data Linking Network, which is collaborating with the National Student Clearinghouse to match data from certification bodies; educational attainment and enrollment data from universities; and aggregate wage data from the U.S. Census Bureau. And in March, we’ll explore this even further when we participate inATP Global’s Innovations in Testing 2022 conference for the session, “Data, Why Collect It?” The session on March 22 will reveal valuable insights related to workforce outcomes, identify trends and opportunities, and facilitate a discussion with attendees on ways to reshape their approach to data collection. It will also address the pieces of data that are most valuable for connecting credentials to workforce needs.

We’ve also been busy on the publishing front: in late 2021, our team contributed a chapter in the book, Handbook of Research on Credential Innovations for Inclusive Pathways to Professions, titled “Certification-Degree Pathways: Aligning Undergraduate Curriculum to Industry Credentials and Professions.” The chapter provides an overview of certifications, an analysis of post-secondary curriculum development, a detailed framework for embedding certifications into undergraduate degree programs, examples of certification-degree pathways, and future opportunities for research and the development of further pathways.

Workcred Takes on Leadership Opportunities in 2022

Opportunities to lend a voice abound: In recent months, we’ve also taken on new leadership roles and opportunities to share our mission. This year, Dr. Cardenas-Navia will continue to lead the President’s Forum Education Blockchain Initiative Learners Working Group. The initiative is a two-year project focused on exploring both the opportunities and the risks of utilizing blockchain to translate skills and educational experiences into a language that individuals—and employers—can use.

This year, our collaboration with the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce. I also recently joined the University Professional and Continuing Education Association’s new (UPCEA) Council for Credential Innovation Leadership committee, which works to advance quality standards, policy, and best practices. Through this opportunity, I’ll engage with academic leaders, practitioners, and other non-degree credential stakeholders with the goal of forming strategies that address the needs of today’s learner and the labor market.

Look Out for More Updates on the Horizon


This year, our collaboration with the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce (CSW) and the George Washington Institute of Public Policy (GWIPP), will culminate with the publication of a series of issue briefs focusing on understanding different aspects of certifications. Building on the December 2020 publication Understanding Certifications, the briefs will go into greater detail on the topics of quality assurance, career pathways, and recertification. Additionally, a final brief will focus on what could be done to improve certifications, increase their usage, and better integrate them into our education and training systems.

Each issue brief will also include a set of recommendations relevant to policymakers and certification bodies. Look out for the publications this spring!

Also, stay tuned for more information on the spring 2022 ANSI World Standards Week, when we’ll join industry, government, workforce, and academic experts for a segment to focus on technology and the workforce.

As always, I am honored to share our progress and I hope to see many familiar faces in 2022.

Have a happy, healthy, and prosperous year ahead,

Roy A. Swift

Workcred is an affiliate of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

Workcred, located at 1899 L St., NW, 11th Floor
Washington, DC 20036 (US)
Tel: 202.293.8020 Fax: 202.293.9287

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