Workcred, APLU, and UPCEA Awarded Lumina Grant to Connect Degrees and Certifications


Workcred, an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) affiliate, has been awarded a grant from Lumina Foundation to partner with the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) to facilitate coordination between higher education institutions and credentialing bodies to bolster student success and career outcomes.

In the U.S., nearly 11.2 million adults who have a high school diploma or less also hold a professional certification or license. Yet there is often a lack of awareness of how certifications can be used to achieve better educational outcomes. Through the partnership, Workcred, APLU, and UPCEA will explore how higher education institutions and certification bodies can better collaborate to provide students with opportunities to earn certifications as part of their undergraduate degree program.

The partners will host a series of convenings throughout the U.S.which will include experts representing higher education institutions and accredited certification bodiesin order to fulfill the following objectives:

- Forge relationships between higher educational institutions and credentialing bodies and facilitate information exchange at several sessions convened by the collaborative;

- Enhance transparency through information exchanges and reporting so the requirements and value of both degrees and certifications are respected by industry and employers; and

- Summarize the key findings and themes in a framework that can be used for pilot programs seeking to align efforts across institutions.

Workcred aims to strengthen workforce quality by improving the credentialing system, through preparing employers, workers, educators, and governments to use credentials effectively. It helps advance its mission through connecting and educating stakeholders to create a more integrated and effective credentialing system; helping stakeholders better understand the quality, value, and effectiveness of credentials and make informed decisions; conducting research to address workforce credentialing issues; and providing thought leadership, education, and training.

"We are excited to be part of this partnership to heighten awareness and collaboration to increase quality assurance and transparency about degrees and certifications," said Roy Swift, Ph.D., executive director, Workcred. "Most of all, we are thrilled to help bridge the divide between all stakeholders, so that certifications can add value to the U.S. workforce."

"Public universities are committed to student success and to helping to close the talent gap in the North American economy. APLU is pleased to be part of this partnership because it will help universities provide greater value to their students and to the employers who hire them," said Sheila Martin, Ph.D., vice president for economic development and community engagement. "We will ensure that our members are part of this important discussion and that the results lead to pilot programs that can be tested and scaled to achieve impacts on quality assurance, transparent credentials, affordable pathways, and first credentials for adults."

"Collaborating with Workcred, APLU, and the Lumina Foundation on this project is the continuation of our focus on quality postsecondary credentials, an area that UPCEA has ledin partnership with its membersfor more than 100 years," stated Robert J. Hansen, Ph.D., chief executive officer of UPCEA. "We are eager to convene postsecondary educators, certification bodies, and employers to consider the role credentials can have in a learner's portfolio of knowledge and skills. We believe credential pathways are necessary for student mobility and learner success."

"We hope that this important new collaboration to engage higher education institutions and certification bodies on curriculum development will help better prepare students for certification exams, and help students bolster the value of their degrees as they gain the attention of employers in a competitive job landscape," said Holly Zanville, senior advisor for credentialing and workforce development at Lumina Foundation.

About Workcred

Formed in 2014, Workcred is an affiliate of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) whose mission is to strengthen workforce quality by improving the credentialing system, ensuring its ongoing relevance, and preparing employers, workers, educators, and governments to use it effectively. Workcred's vision is a labor market that relies on the relevance, quality, and value of workforce credentials for opportunities, growth, and development.

About Lumina Foundation

Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation in Indianapolis that is committed to making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all. Lumina envisions a system that is easy to navigate, delivers fair results, and meets the nation's need for talent through a broad range of credentials. Lumina's goal is to prepare people for informed citizenship and for success in a global economy.

About APLU

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) is a research, policy, and advocacy organization dedicated to strengthening and advancing the work of public universities in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. With a membership of 238 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems, and affiliated organizations, APLU's agenda is built on the three pillars of increasing degree completion and academic success, advancing scientific research, and expanding engagement. The association's work is furthered by an active and effective advocacy arm that works with Congress and the administration as well as the media to advance federal policies that strengthen public universities and benefit the students they serve.


UPCEA is the leading association for professional, continuing, and online education. For more than 100 years, UPCEA has served most of the leading public and private colleges and universities in North America. Founded in 1915, the association serves its members with innovative conferences and specialty seminars, research and benchmarking information, professional networking opportunities, and timely publications. Based in Washington, D.C., UPCEA builds greater awareness of the vital link between contemporary learners (such as adults that have historically been underserved by postsecondary institutions) and public policy issues.