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New Report Shows High Value of Certificates in Job Market

As millions of workers look for new jobs and careers during turbulent economic times, a new report offers insights about certifications—one type of credential that can offer high value in the job market.

The report, “Understanding Certifications,” is a collaboration among Corporation for a Skilled Workforce (CSW), George Washington Institute of Public Policy (GWIPP), and Workcred (an affiliate of the American National Standards Institute), and was made possible by a grant from Lumina Foundation.

The report offers a comprehensive overview of the diverse landscape of certifications. It covers their purpose, who awards them, what value they provide, ways to assess quality, and how they align with educational pathways. It also frames questions about the future 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. Certifications are based on an individual demonstrating through an examination that she or he has acquired the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform a specific occupation or job. More than 6,700 different certifications are currently awarded to millions of workers nationally. Yet, many employers, workers, students, policymakers, and education and workforce development practitioners know little about the use and value of certifications.

This report is part of a larger research project intended to untangle the complexities of certifications by providing policymakers, practitioners, employers, and funders with a clear picture of the patterns and trends among certifications, as well as how they currently or could interrelate with other parts of the credentialing ecosystem.

Access the report, “Understanding Certifications,” and stay up to date on project progress here.