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Credentialing: A National Dialogue

Credentialing – it’s among this year’s most important topics in adult education. We’re so excited to have been invited to participate in the launch of a national dialogue on the subject. More than 40 leaders from business, labor, and education join us in this dialogue to focus on understanding problems in the current postsecondary credentialing system and even more importantly, to develop solutions to create a better approach.

Postsecondary credentials represent a broad array of learning, including skills-based certificates, industry-awarded certifications, degree programs and post-doctoral studies, badges, work-based apprenticeships, and more. The dialogue’s efforts to help students and employers better navigate these myriad pathways will be critical to our nation’s economic future since 65 percent of jobs will require an education beyond high school by 2020.

However, under the current credentialing system, it’s difficult for individuals to know which postsecondary education or training programs they should pursue to secure their desired job or build the skills needed to remain relevant in today’s workforce. It’s equally challenging for students to know how credentials translate from one job or program to another and which credentials are high quality.

We’re eager to be a part of this discussion and to share our expertise to help better define credentials to demonstrate what individuals know and can do, and thus better match workers to the skilled jobs employers require.

This entire undertaking is thanks to leadership by Lumina Foundation. Over the summer, the credentials dialogue partner groups will meet over to outline potential solutions that will be unveiled during a national summit this fall. A new website – www.connecting credentials.org – also has been launched to support the national dialogue on credentialing.

Eventually, the credentials dialogue group will expand leading up to the national summit to which more than 200-plus organizations representing education, employers and industry sector associations, workforce agencies, government, philanthropy, think tanks, and students will be invited.

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