Publications and Events: Reports



October 2023 Workcred connects and educates stakeholders to create a more integrated and effective credentialing system. Quality credentials have credibility with industry, meet quality standards, and have proven value in the workplace. Read on for highlights of the ANSI affiliate organization's accomplishments in support of quality credentialing in 2022-2023.
Examining the Return on Investment of Manufacturing Credentials
July 2023 In order to more effectively use credentials and support a competitive manufacturing workforce, Workcred developed new research to understand how manufacturing employers and workers value credentials, which credentials they value, and how they determine whether or not to pursue additional credentials. Two common themes were uncovered as part of this study: a value for credentials and confusion about the worth of specific credentials.
By: Workcred staff
Embedding and Aligning Certifications with Academic Programs Playbook
June 2023 This playbook is designed to explore the key issues associated with embedding and/or aligning certifications with academic degree and certificate programs. It provides insights to different stakeholders about the benefits of this approach; information about the characteristics of certifications; questions that can be asked to help assess quality; elements to consider when deciding whether to align or embed a certification; and case studies of how postsecondary institutions are implementing this approach.
By: Workcred and Credential As You Go
Integrating Microcredentials into Undergraduate Experiences
April 2023 The University of Texas (UT) System is reimagining liberal arts and humanities degree programs to incorporate data analytics microcredentials that ensures graduates are broadly educated (degree) and specifically skilled (microcredential), potentially increasing their employment opportunities and earnings outcomes. The UT System partnered with Workcred to develop this report to provide an overview of microcredentials; factors to consider when building or selecting a microcredential; promising microcredential practices in digital skills and data analytics; approaches to align data analytics microcredentials with undergraduate experiences; a framework to guide the development and implementation of microcredentials; and assets to support microcredentialing efforts in the UT System.
By: Workcred staff


Annual Report 2021-22
October 2022 As highlighted in the 2021-2022 ANSI Annual Report, "Building for the Future," Workcred is producing new research and implementing projects that provide insights and best practices for individuals to obtain skills for in-demand jobs with livable wages, and help employers fill their talent needs.
A Primer on Associations for Credentialing Professionals
July 2022 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
The Role of Certificates in Signifying Knowledge and Skills Attainment
June 2022 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
A World of Transformation
June 2022 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
Certification Myths Debunked
May 2022 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
Certifications as Tools for Promoting Economic Mobility
March 2022 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
Accreditation Standards
March 2022 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
Recertification: A Distinguishing Feature of Certifications
March 2022 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
Certifications: The Ideal, Reality, and Potential
March 2022 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
Case Studies: Collaborative Models of Certification
February 2022 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


Variable Impacts of New Credentials for the Older Worker
March 2021 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


Understanding Certifications
December 2020
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
Embedding Certifications into Bachelor’s Degrees
November 2020
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
Understanding Quality
September 2020
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
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
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


Call for a National Conversation on Creating a Competency-based Credentialing Ecosystem
April 2014
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.