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September 2021

Roy A. Swift, Ph.D. COL

Contributing to Greater Change, One Conversation at a Time

The greatest positive changes often start with a conversation. We are delighted to bring our workforce expertise to the table—and draw insights from others—during what has proven to be a busy year full of renewed optimism and national dialogue. Together, we have joined conferences, roundtables, broadcasts, and penned Op-Eds about how we can collectively improve the workforce landscape, support greater diversity, and use credential pathways to enhance education.

Here is a glimpse of some of our latest work, and what is still to come…

Supporting the Future of "Working Learners"

As more people simultaneously pursue employment and postsecondary education, we need to find ways to accommodate them—and honor their diversity. This year, I joined the Stanford Graduate School of Education's future of work and learning working group, along with senior director of research, Dr. Isabel Cardenas-Navia. As part of this body of experts, we discussed and provided input on opportunities for the millions of Americans who represent the new normal: working adults who aim to improve their lives through learning. Over a series of weekly sessions, we addressed questions that are relevant to this emerging group of learners, including how we can collectively foster stronger connections between working learners, colleges, universities, and workplaces.

Ultimately, the output of this work will be a coherent vision to inform research and service programs in the public, private, and philanthropic sectors, with the goal of making lifelong learning opportunities more effective, engaging, equitable, and more rewarding than ever before.

Exchanges about Credential Knowledge and Championing Diversity around the Nation

During a productive summer, we were able to share our recent work and ongoing mission to increase the quality, market value, and effectiveness of credentials in the U.S.

  • Just last month, I joined the New Hampshire Career and Technical Education (CTE) Summer Learning Series to address guidelines for determining a quality certification. Did you know that only an estimated 10-15 percent of more than 6,000 certifications are accredited? This poses a challenge for stakeholders that require some validated criteria for judging the quality and relevance of these certifications outside of accreditation. To help clear up confusion, I spoke about the market value and relevance of certifications, and how stakeholders can determine if there is an alignment of learning outcomes and competencies to specific CTE programs.
  • In June, I was honored to share some of Workcred's insights on quality credentials—and how we can benefit from them—in a presentation for the Midwestern Higher Education Compact’s comprehensive learner records advisory group. The advisory group looks at areas where technology and higher education intersect, seeking collaborations across the region that can produce benefits for the Midwest that otherwise would be difficult to achieve at state and institutional levels.
  • In our continued effort to support service members and veterans in job transition, I co-presented with Pearson VUE on “Utilizing Credentials to Speed up the Job Hunt” during the Council of College and Military Educators Annual Symposium to highlight the importance of certifications.

And, as one of our priorities this year is to support the growth and success of STEMM (science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine) education, we are proud to share that we have been busy contributing our insights during regional and national conversations that support these disciplines.

  • In July, Karen Elzey, associate executive director, joined panelists to highlight the results of the 2020 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine workshop series. As a committee member, Karen shared the report's key findings on addressing workforce issues revealed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and how regional communities across the nation are expanding their STEMM workforces to position them for success moving forward. Karen also shared insights about the committee’s work during the JFF Horizons 2021 National Summit, “Building a Future that Works,” accessible via online video.
  • In an effort to support minorities in engineering education, Isabel recently joined the National Academy of Engineering planning committee. As part of this group, we aim to provide actionable insights to the engineering education community on how credential pathways can boost the number of minority engineering students and faculty in U.S. colleges and universities.

Workcred in the Media

As a team, we're proud to share our contributions in several thought leadership pieces to highlight our work and the power of credentialing.

  • An Op-Ed with Whiteboard Advisors underscores "The Power of Industry-Recognized Stackable Credentials," published in The EvoLLLution. Just around the corner on September 23, Workcred will join Work Shift News, The College of Health Care Professions, and UTMB Healthcare Systems to discuss why embedding industry-recognized certifications into stackable credentials is impactful on health care and higher education. Come join us!
  • "Everything You’ve Ever Learned," published by Issues in Science and Technology (and highlighted in a related blog), touches on the challenges and opportunities with learning and employment records.
  • "Increasing Value Through Certification and Degree Pathways," which highlights how certification-degree pathways support learner persistence, employment, and wages, was published in The EvoLLLution.
  • "An Informative Dialogue with Workcred’s Executive Director Roy Swift on Key WFD and Credentialing Issues," published in the Workforce Monitor, hones in on the disconnect between postsecondary education and the skills employers seek from job candidates, among other workforce development issues.
  • Finally, in the broadcast media realm, don't forget to check out our “Workcred Expert Series” guest appearances as part of RVN Television's Morning Coffee series, in which we highlight the advantages of several certifications so everyone can make more informed career decisions. Stay tuned for more to come!

Workcred's Influence Goes Global

We're proud to share that our work has reached new global heights! In May, we joined the HEInnovate spring webinar series for the European Commission focused on microcredentials and collaboration. We revealed how Workcred has gathered knowledge about the relationships between the system actors and developed a framework to identify certification-degree pathways, challenges, and opportunities.

Also this year, we are contributing to the development of a UNESCO policy paper, "Quality and Relevance of Higher Education," to be launched at the III World Conference on Higher Education in Barcelona, Spain, in mid-2022. Workcred is providing insights on the skills gaps of new graduates and key practices that can help bridge those gaps, as well as advice on how the various education players can work together to design and deliver relevant, high quality, and sustainable programs to meet all learning needs.

Be on the Lookout for More…

We have a packed agenda through the end of 2021.

  • In October, Workcred will present "Trends in Credentialing: A Call for Action," during the ANAB 2021 Credentialing Conference session on "What's on the Horizon for Credentialing Programs?"
  • In November, we will join the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (I.C.E.) Exchange during an audience interactive session highlighting "How to Leverage Data Insights to Grow Your Business."
  • Also in November, Workcred will present "Enhancing Student Outcomes through Certification-Degree Pathways" at the 2021 Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) Conference.
  • In late fall, Workcred will jointly release with the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce (CSW) and the George Washington Institute of Public Policy (GWIPP) a series of in-depth issue briefs focused on understanding different aspects of certifications. These issue briefs build on the December 2020 publication, Understanding Certifications, and will focus on the topics of quality assurance, career pathways, recertification, and labor market value. Each issue brief will also include a set of recommendations relevant to policymakers and certification bodies.
  • In addition, Workcred is set to debut a series of videos this fall, covering the ins and outs of standards for personnel certifications and accreditation. You won’t want to miss this!

With so much work still to be done, Workcred is grateful for your continued support when it comes to improving the credentialing system and advancing quality. Let’s continue the conversations to secure a better future for the workforce, and for us all.

With best regards,

Roy A. Swift

Workcred Extends Expertise to Higher Education

As Workcred continues to highlight the value of embedding certifications within degrees, we are extending our expertise and resources to support community colleges to identify and integrate non-degree credentials into degree programs. We have reached a critical time as a nation, when upskilling and reskilling is essential to help strengthen the recovering workforce. In light of this, we are committed to supporting community colleges to identify how credentials can best align curricula with different certifications, for better outcomes for all. Please reach out to the Workcred team to start the conversation to collaborate. We’d love to hear from you at [email protected].

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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