Credentials That Work
Occupational Training for Today's Jobs
Credentials That Work seeks to utilize innovations in the collection and use of real-time labor market information to better align investments in education and training with the needs of the economy. Stronger alignment will ensure that education credentials have high value for both workers and employers.
In today’s economy, education and training beyond high school are essential if individuals are to achieve higher living standards and greater economic mobility. Credentials That Work is based on the premise that the value of education is enhanced if it includes the skills employers need and it is validated by credentials employers recognize. The initiative assists states and regions in aligning their education and training investments with the dynamic demands of the labor market—the skills currently in demand by employers and those projected for the near future.
The initiative is rooted in new technologies that make it possible—for the first time—to collect up-to-date labor market information. Instead of using data that may be months or years out of date, “real-time” technologies create the potential to transform how postsecondary institutions and systems align occupational training programs with the economy’s needs. At the core of these innovations are:
- Advanced capacities for mining data on available and projected job openings; and
- Artificial intelligence software that aggregates this information across a variety of publicly accessible databases.
These technologies make it possible to draw data from a larger and more recent pool than most traditional sources of labor market information. They can improve the understanding of hiring trends, employer demand, and skill requirements by drawing on current information and consistent signals from the labor market.
The availability of real-time labor market information is a recent development, and its use in the context of occupational training programs is just emerging. Most applications for these data remain untested—and their limitations are similarly just being studied. Nevertheless, private-sector companies providing real-time data are in demand, and increasing numbers of states, educations systems and institutions, and workforce development agencies are using such information.
Interest is strong, but much remains to be learned. Credentials That Work is surveying and assessing the most promising applications of real-time technologies—existing and planned—in order to:
- Determine what uses may better align postsecondary education offerings with the needs of employers;
- Identify how these applications can augment the value of traditional sources of labor market information; and
- Identify how state policy can encourage the wider use of these technologies.
Credentials That Work, led by JFF, is funded by the Joyce Foundation and Lumina Foundation for Education.
- Bunker Hill Community College (Boston, MA)
- Cabrillo College (Aptos, CA)
- Centers of Excellence (San Jose, CA)
- Cerritos College (Norwalk, CA)
- CONNECT: A Southeastern Massachusetts Public Higher Education Partnership
- Delaware Technical & Community College Center for Industry Research & Workforce Alignment (CIRWA)
- Harper College (Palatine, IL)
- Kentucky Community and Technical College System (Kentucky, all 16 colleges)
- LaGuardia Community College (New York, NY)
- Southern Maine Community College (Portland, ME)
- Texas State Technical College (Waco, Marshall, West Texas, and Harlingen, TX)
Credentials That Work is commissioning research on:
- How real-time labor market information is collected;
- How it differs from traditional labor market data;
- How it compliments existing labor market services (specifically with regard to programs leading to postsecondary credentials); and
- How early implementers are using real-time labor market data and systems.
The research and resulting publications will emphasize collaborations between traditional data producers (e.g., state agencies that collect labor market information) and data users (e.g., community colleges and other providers of occupational training).
For more information, contact:
John Dorrer, 617.728.4446, firstname.lastname@example.org