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Kansas Board of Regents Pursues Credential Transparency to Achieve Economic Prosperity

By: Dr. Blake Flanders, President & CEO, Kansas Board of Regents

This blog is part of a series highlighting the work of Credential Engine’s state partners. Catch up by checking out our last piece here.

Technological advances and an increasingly competitive economy have generated strong demand for workers with postsecondary skills and education. That trend is accelerating, and for most Kansans, a high school diploma alone will not provide the foundation to build a rewarding and prosperous career. Our labor market has clearly articulated that some type of postsecondary credential gives Kansans the best chance in the new economy.

The Kansas Board of Regents recognized several years ago that increasing the number of adults in our state with a degree or certificate was of the utmost importance for our future prosperity as a state. The Board made increased attainment one of the three goals of its long-term strategic plan Foresight 2020. In addition to attainment, a second goal called for the alignment of the higher education system with economic demand to ensure Kansans that the credentials they earn would help them succeed in their future jobs, and by extension help the businesses who hired them grow and thrive.

The Kansas higher education system has made important strides toward achieving these goals. A Career Technical Education initiative has helped grow the number of high school students enrolled in postsecondary CTE courses from approximately 3,500 to nearly 11,000. Engineering and Nursing Initiatives have helped our system greatly increase the number of graduates in two high demand occupations. We’ve made efforts to have courses seamlessly transfer throughout our system and to articulate military service into college credit. However, if we are to meet the talent needs of our businesses and help families prosper, we must help many more Kansans earn a credential after high school.

Kansas’ partnership with Credential Engine offers an exciting opportunity for us to make the higher education more transparent, improve comparison across state lines, articulate credit for military experience, and indicate high-demand credentials within the state. Families need access to these data points in order to make the best decisions about the educational options available to them. Our institutions also benefit from having that information to better understand the core competencies provided by our system.

Navigating the credential marketplace is all too often confusing and difficult for families, employers, and higher education institutions alike. Earning a credential should give an individual a grasp of certain skills, but the plethora of credential options and terminology that varies across institutions and systems can leave students and employers with many unanswered questions about core competencies associated with credentials.

Credential Engine’s Credential Registry is an important and unique tool that can provide that information to help answer all of those questions. It also complements the work that we have done through our KSDegreeStats initiative to evaluate the career opportunities afforded by degrees in our system. Providing clear, easily navigable information through the Registry will assist Kansans to choose credentials that have value in the marketplace and are desired by employers. This positions our businesses for success by developing a talented workforce, and ultimately helps Kansas families thrive.

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Please join us next week to get a high-level overview of why our state partners are committed to Credential Transparency