Creating Credential Connections in States

By: Jamai Blivin, CEO, Innovate+Educate

There has been no other time in the history of education and workforce in which technology has had a greater impact than now. New education and employment technology companies and solutions are launching almost every week, with goals of connecting learners to skills, credentials and/or higher education that will lead to employment. Simultaneously, the value of the higher education traditional pathway is being questioned more and more frequently. And, higher education is taking serious steps to assure access to credentials and certifications for those that must work and learn, those that want a job but may only need a credential or certification to get to that job.

All of this has led to a much greater focus on credentials and certifications across the U.S. (and globally). As we embark in our own work across Colorado, Texas, New Mexico, New York, California and other states we have identified a strong need for a way to search the right credential, identify how to get that credential, and understand how to then map that to an employer looking for that credential.

Credential Engine has been at the forefront of this work. They have developed an open-source schema—the Credential Transparency Description Language—that begins to break down the silos around all types of credentials, including degrees, badges, certifications, certificates, licenses, apprenticeships and more.  Specifically, we see Credential Engine providing valuable tools and platforms to support applications for search, discovery, comparison and selection of credentials.

It is hard to believe that this hasn’t been done years ago. It is as if we are just now developing a highway/roadmap to new pathways to educational attainment. And, this highway cannot be leveraged soon enough. Connecting credentials across states should and must be a priority. Credential Engine is already active in nine states and our own work with Workforce Development Institute of New York (WDI-NY) is developing New York-focused applications that will connect into Credential Engine and allow a learner to not only search but also find maps to get the credential, identify the costs related to the credential, and identify which jobs require or prefer that credential. The site – “Future Skills Exchange” is the first to start shifting statewide learning and employment to a language of skills and competencies.

This work in New York begins to not only leverages Credential Engine’s applications and tools but also provides awareness across New York for educators and workforce professionals to include their own credentials in the Credential Engine Registry. The vision is that a New York learner, employer or job candidate will be able to search the “Future Skills Exchange” engine for assessments, training, apprenticeship and credentials for navigating the future of learning and work.

With so many new approaches in working and learning hitting that U.S. and global markets, we believe the greatest chance for outcomes will be found through alignment and collaboration. Tremendous data sources exist, however more technologies that help us collect, connect, and compare data such as the ones Credential Engine has developed should be built. That will improve the overall efficiency of the education to employment markets in the long run.

New York should be celebrated for their work to create the roadmap to the future of working and learning. Creating collaborative partnerships such as the one between WDI-NY and Credential Engine will go a long way towards the vision of this shift underway globally. We applaud the work underway across states to continue connect credentials to assure new pathways to employment continues.


Innovate + Educate is the first participant in our new application blog series. Stay tuned next week to hear from our next application partner, CourseNetworking