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Letter from the Workcred Executive Director
Roy A. Swift, Ph.D. COL, Retired

December 2019

Roy A. Swift, Ph.D. COL

2019 in Review and a Look to the Future

Dear Colleagues:

With 2020 just days away and the holiday season upon us, there is no better time to express my gratitude to the many champions of our mission. Your collective participation helps strengthen our efforts as we aim to create a stronger workforce that is equipped with valuable and effective credentials. As our Workcred team celebrates its milestone five-year anniversary, I am honored to share some highlights of this eventful year.

We had a very successful turnout at the first-ever Workcred and ANSI event during World Standards Week. More than 150 professionals joined us in Washington, DC, to hear nationally renowned workforce and industry experts discuss Building an Effective Workforce for the Future. The inspiring discussion segments on “Upskilling, Reskilling, and Retraining Today’s Workforce" and "New Credentials for the Future Workforce,” among others, addressed new methods and types of credentials – from skills-based hiring, to badging, and online education – that are disrupting traditional models of learning.

Our efforts for the new and incoming labor force are still in motion: Workcred and its partners are conducting a series of convenings to identify practical examples and new opportunities to integrate degrees and certifications—to create more opportunities for students to earn credentials with labor-market value. Our partnership with the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and UPCEA is bringing together university faculty and administrators with certification body staff to identify opportunities to combine degrees and certifications, and strengthen both types of credentials.

Beyond the borders of the future workforce, we have also been exploring the credentialing needs of older (age 50+) workers, with the support of AARP. Specifically, our research explores which credentials are most useful for older workers interested in rejoining the labor force. The analysis showed that non-degree credentials were both the most popular choice for older workers, as well as offering the highest “overall” value. Certifications and industry-recognized certificates were found to have similar completion rates compared with all credentials, and had higher re-employment rates and higher post-training earnings.

With all of this credential talk, many may still wonder how to quantify the true value of a credential. As a follow up to Workcred's 2018 manufacturing research report, funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership, we are set to conduct a two-year research study that aims to answer this question—so that we can understand the true return on investment of credentials in manufacturing. Most notably, this research will help identify how credentials can serve as an important resource to identify skilled workers and what credentials should be developed to meet future needs.

What's more, to better clarify the value of credentials, we recently received a grant from Lumina Foundation to identify and engage a network of 25-30 credentialing bodies in discussions around the value of sharing their data so information about their credentials can be better understood.

With these new opportunities, I am happy to share that Workcred's full time staff also continues to grow! In September, we welcomed Dr. Isabel Cardenas-Navia as Workcred’s director of research. We are excited to work with Isabel, given her unique and impressive expertise in workforce development.

I am optimistic and grateful for these new collaborations, partnerships, and opportunities, and I look forward to sharing more insights with you in the near future.

All the best wishes for a happy and successful 2020!

Best regards,

Roy A. Swift

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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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