Workcred Receives NIST MEP Grant to Support Research to Examine ROI of Manufacturing Credentials


Workcred, an affiliate of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), has been awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) for a two-year research study to examine the return on investment (ROI) of credentials in the manufacturing industry. The research will provide manufacturers with a better understanding of how credentials can serve as an important resource in identifying skilled workers.

The grant will build upon research from Workcred's first-of-its kind manufacturing report funded by NIST MEP, Examining Quality, Market Value, and Effectiveness of Manufacturing Credentials in the United States, which revealed a lack of understanding about credentials. Manufacturers indicated they were unaware of available credentials, and they did not recognize how credentials are relevant to jobs in their facility. Furthermore, even when manufacturing facilities hired workers with specific credentials, they noted that they could not state how these credentials impacted worker productivity and the company's success. Despite this, manufacturers said that they believed that credentials could serve as a critical resource if they had a better understanding of their valueand if credentials could better align to the skills needed in their facilities.

Funding will support a related two-year study that will evaluate the ROI of existing manufacturing credentials, with a focus on credentials used in the operations and production aspects of manufacturing. Among other key priorities, the research will examine:

  • Whether or not the knowledge and skills represented in a credential are being used on the job

  • What knowledge and skills (to include employability skills) are not included in the credential, but should be in order to meet the total demands of the job role or occupation
  • How certifications compare to other types of credentials in their capability to prepare individuals for work
  • Whether or not individuals who hold a specific credential are more productive than individuals without it
  • How credentials are weighed against other types of criteria used in the hiring process
  • Whether certain subpopulations (i.e., women, minorities, and older workers) find non-degree credentials to be more valuable than other subpopulations

"We are thrilled to build on research to support the credentialing marketplace, so that manufacturing employers and workers can get on the same page about the credentials that are most valuable to their respective work goals," said Dr. Roy Swift, executive director, Workcred. "Most of all, improving the usefulness of credentials will be a win-win for everyone and help support long-term job success."

Workcred will facilitate the research work, in collaboration with NIST MEP, to evaluate select manufacturing credentials most relevant to the NIST MEP National Network. Small and medium-sized manufacturers will be selected from MEP National Network Center clients to participate in the studyrepresenting a range of manufacturing sectors, facility sizes, and geographic regions.

About Workcred

Formed in 2014, Workcred is an affiliate of 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. Learn more at

About the MEP National NetworkTM

The MEP National Network is a unique public-private partnership that delivers comprehensive, proven solutions to U.S. manufacturers, fueling growth and advancing U.S. manufacturing. This diverse National Network with over 400 service locations has manufacturing experts serving as trusted business advisors and technical experts ready and able to assist small and medium-sized manufacturing companies.

Focused on helping small and medium-sized manufacturers generate business results and thrive in today's technology-driven economy, the MEP National Network comprises the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP), 51 MEP Centers located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, and its over 1,300 manufacturing experts at over 400 service locations, providing any U.S. manufacturer with access to resources they need to succeed.