Publications and Events: Reports




July 2022
A Primer on Associations for Credentialing Professionals
Many industry sectors have professional associations that provide research, resources, education, and advocacy. In higher education, there are a number of associations that not only bring together college and university faculty and administrators, but also lobby on behalf of the institutions. Similar to higher education, there are professional associations that convene organizations that offer credentials outside of higher education institutions, like certificates, certifications, and licenses. This issue brief provides an overview of the main organizations that provide education, research, best practices, and advocacy for credentialing bodies and/or their employees.
By: Workcred staff
June 2022
The Role of Certificates in Signifying Knowledge and Skills Attainment
There are different types of certificates that serve different purposes, which are offered upon completion of an education or training program. And to confuse matters even more, not all certificates convey the same type of information about the knowledge and skills of the holder. This issue brief highlights the purposes of different types of certificates, outlines the national standards for certificate issuers, and describes the process to accredit certificate issuers.
By: Workcred staff
June 2022
A World of Transformation: Moving from Degrees to Skills-Based Alternative Credentials
Postsecondary education is undergoing a period of profound change. One of the most significant changes is the emergence of skills-based credentials as both complements and alternatives to traditional degrees. This report summarizes evidence suggesting a decrease in the value of degrees as a signaling mechanism in the labor market. It also identifies the benefits of non-degree credentials and makes recommendations on ways to increase their value and acceptance in the labor market. It remains to be seen whether alternative credentials are a short-term strategy to close the skills gaps and deal with the transition to adaptive and qualified labor, or a permanent strategy of human capital development.
By: Inter-American Development Bank and Workcred
May 2022
Certification Myths Debunked
Certifications are one of the most frequently misunderstood credentials. A contributing factor to this confusion is that the terms certificate and certification are often incorrectly used interchangeably. This issue brief addresses five common myths about certifications to clear the confusion, including understanding the prerequisites required to earn a credential; who develops the assessment and whether it assesses learning outcomes or competencies; whether the credential is guided by national or international standards; how the credential can support lifelong learning; and whether it can be revoked.
By: Workcred staff
March 2022
Certifications as Tools for Promoting Economic Mobility
This report discusses how the characteristics of quality certifications potentially make them useful tools for increasing the economic mobility of workers, expanding the talent pools for employers, integrating certifications in credentialing and career pathways, as well as the pitfalls of focusing on certifications primarily as quick-fix, short-term credentials to get people into a job.
By: Workcred, Corporation for a Skilled Workforce, and George Washington Institute of Public Policy
March 2022
Accreditation Standards: The Primary Source of Quality Assurance for Certifications
This report highlights the broad consensus by the certification community that quality certifications are those that align with conformity standards for personnel certifications and are developed specifically for certifications by members of the certification community.
By: Workcred, Corporation for a Skilled Workforce, and George Washington Institute of Public Policy
March 2022
Recertification: A Distinguishing Feature of Certifications
This report provides an overview of the recertification process, how it varies among certifications, the extent to which it achieves its stated purposes, and recommendations for improvements.
By: Workcred, Corporation for a Skilled Workforce, and George Washington Institute of Public Policy
March 2022
Certifications: The Ideal, Reality, and Potential
Among workforce credentials, certifications stand out for their accuracy signaling skills of the certification holder, accessibility to people with varying levels of education and experience, and ability to motivate skill acquisition through recertification requirements. Yet, certifications are still not as widely known or understood as other credentials. This report highlights a set of policy and operational recommendations to increase the use of certifications and better integrate them into U.S. education and training systems as well as for areas in further need of research.
By: Workcred, Corporation for a Skilled Workforce, and George Washington Institute of Public Policy
February 2022
Case Studies: Collaborative Models of Certification
Workcred and its Credentialing Body Advisory Council have developed an initial series of cases studies highlighting collaborative models in certification. The case studies showcase the need being filled, the collaborative process, the lessons learned, and recommendations on next steps. The first three case studies can be accessed here, and more will be added as they are developed.
By: Workcred staff


March 2021
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.
By: Workcred staff


December 2020
Understanding Certifications
This report 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.
By: Workcred, Corporation for a Skilled Workforce, and George Washington Institute of Public Policy
November 2020
Embedding Certifications into Bachelor’s Degrees: Certification-Degree Pathways Project Framework
Workcred and its partners identified opportunities, challenges, and practical examples associated with integrating high-quality, industry certifications into bachelor’s degree programs in order to create more opportunities for students to earn credentials with labor-market value.

If after viewing the framework you have any feedback on the content of the report, examples of a certification-degree pathway, or ideas on how to shape future phases of this work, please let us know.

By: Workcred, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, Coalition of Urban Serving Universities, and University and Professional Continuing Education Association
September 2020
Understanding Quality: The Role of States in Supporting Quality Non-Degree Credentials
Through this brief published in partnership with the National Governors Association (NGA), Workcred sheds light on the value of non-degree credentials as tools to empower workers and strengthen state economies amid the significant disruption caused by COVID-19. The brief provides several recommendations for state policymakers to consider as they recognize and support quality credentials for people re-entering or upskilling in the workforce.
By: Workcred and the National Governors Association


November 2019
Certification and Its Relationship to Further Learning
Certifications can lead to further opportunities for education and learning. This issue brief describes the relationships that can exist among certifications, degrees, credit for prior learning, and advanced education.
By: Workcred staff


Workcred, NIST MEP Report
July 2018
Examining the Quality, Market Value, and Effectiveness of Manufacturing Credentials in the United States
U.S. manufacturing faces a skills mismatch: studies forecast an increase in output and productivity, but also predict a shortage of individuals with the right skills to fill the jobs. To help solve this mismatch and keep up with changing skill needs, a clearer understanding of how credentials are used and valued by the manufacturing industry is essential.
By: Workcred, in partnership with NIST MEP


April 2014
Call for a National Conversation on Creating a Competency-based Credentialing Ecosystem
The perpetually volatile economy is increasing risks for employers and job seekers. Within this environment, both are looking to workforce and education credentials to reduce their risk. Employers, seeking the best possible talent, often rely on credentials as signals to screen prospective candidates for the knowledge, skills and abilities they require for business success and competiveness. Young people and adults seek credentials that provide them with valued evidence of their marketable skills to help them secure employment and advance in their careers.
By: This paper is the collaborative effort of a group of stakeholders, representing national education and workforce organizations and individuals, to frame a national conversation on addressing the crisis of confidence in education and workforce credentials.