Workcred’s research services include partnerships and grants to examine workforce credentialing issues and needs, and are currently focused on several key areas.

Examining the Relationship between Quality, Labor Market Value, and Effectiveness

With the tremendous growth of certifications in this country, it has become more difficult to discern quality certifications from those of lesser caliber. Workcred is examining the linkage between “quality,” “labor market value,” and effectiveness. Information gleaned from this research will be useful to employers who are creating criteria for the selection of credentials that have value for their organization; certification bodies to market the predictive validity of their credentials; states looking for quality certifications that align with their education programs; and individuals seeking credentials that will make a difference in obtaining employment and demonstrating value to the organization after employment.

Mapping the Credentialing Landscape

To date, no known comprehensive mapping of credentials has been done that looks at the growth of specific credentials, how they are defined, and what, if any, the relationships are among the credentials. This type of information will help credential seekers understand how they would benefit more from one credential than another and how the credentials could be used to build a career pathway.

Employer Signaling

Although some theoretical work has been done, there is no clear agreement on the mechanism by which employers make their decisions regarding competency and skills requirements and related credentialing requirements, and communicate or “signal” these decisions to the market. Workcred is pursuing research to examine how employers define their requirements and how they choose to communicate their requirements. This research would identify leading and proven employer practices that have positive outcomes, and help employers to identify different decision-making models for signing competencies on an on-going systematic basis. Individuals looking for employment would be able to identify if they have the specific competencies signaled by the employer. Education institutions would be able to build mechanisms to identify the signals from employers and build content in a timely manner on an ongoing basis.

Globalization of Credentials

With the goal of determining best practices and tools that can be used by companies and organizations operating in the global market, Workcred is examining research to examine how organizations that have successfully globalized a credential have done so effectively.


In a climate of lifelong learning where technology and knowledge change at a rapid rate, recertification is as important as the initial certification process. And yet, we see a lack of focus on recertification as a means of continued competence. There is little research about what factors contribute to individuals remaining competent in their profession. Workcred has created a task force to investigate issues surrounding recertification and continued competence and to develop a research study around facilitating continued competence in the professions.

Additional research interests include:

Predictive Value

Examination of specific credentials and determination of their predictive validity to specific specified criteria, including desired performance of the worker and total impact of the credentials on industry.

Alignment of Credentials in an Industry

Examination of credentials for their alignment to identified competencies needed in industry, as well as learning outcomes of training and education and the credentialing organizations. Research includes identification of variables that contributed to the alignment or misalignment.

Stacking of Credentials

Examination through a competency-based approach of the appropriateness, efficiency, and effectiveness of stacked credentials in a career pathway.

 If your organization is interested in teaming up with Workcred on research or collaborative
        activities focused on improving the U.S. credentialing system send us a note.

Research Highlights

Research Report: Examining the Quality, Market Value, and Effectiveness of Manufacturing Credentials in the United States. To help U.S. manufacturing keep pace with changing skill needs, Workcred published a report that reveals key findings and details recommendations for manufacturers, credentialing organizations, educators, accreditors, and policymakers. The report, Examining the Quality, Market Value, and Effectiveness of Manufacturing Credentials in the United States, was funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP).

 View the report