News, Policy Brief

Credential Transparency & P-20W: Aligning Education and Employment Information to Meet State Goals

Over the next decade, employers will need to fill millions of jobs that require higher-order thinking skills, specialized knowledge, and education or training beyond high school. For that reason, many states are aiming for 65% of residents to hold high-quality postsecondary credentials by 2025. Hitting that goal depends on whether states can close gaps in educational attainment, align what’s taught with labor market needs and increase racial and ethnic diversity in key industries.

With this in mind, Credential Engine published a Policy Brief­­—Credential Transparency & P-20W: Aligning Education and Employment Information to Meet State Goals—co-signed by the Council of Chief State School Officers, Data Quality Campaign, Education Commission of the States, Education Quality Outcomes Standards Board, Education Strategy Group, National Conference of State Legislatures, National Governors Association, National Skills Coalition, and State Higher Education Executive Officers Association. This brief—the first in a six-part series­—builds atop the State Roadmap and Action Guide to Transparency to motivate states to see the benefits of a connected, open-access data network, and understand how we can all work to better align our data to aid in decision making.

The pandemic and emerging recession have made policymakers realize the importance of aligning credential attainment with the real-world demands of the marketplace. That’s why a growing number of states are linking education and workforce efforts by leveraging data systems that span early childhood education, K-12, postsecondary education and the workforce. Leaders believe these comprehensive data systems will improve how education and training programs prepare residents for the jobs of the future.

Yet, these systems cannot realize their promise without Credential Transparency. Understanding credentials and all they entail helps states make inefficient labor markets more efficient. A common language for credentials can promote interoperability—that’s how services such as Expedia, Kayak, Travelocity and others use and exchange information. Credential Transparency affords us the ability to do this for credentials: to connect education, training, and employment information to meet state talent goals.

It’s possible for states to have full transparency about both the skills needed for success in the job market and the credentials that signal competence and readiness for those jobs. But it only will happen if states employ better workforce and education data through P-20W data systems and adopt new technology that enables the data to be analyzed and made actionable.

Read the full Policy Brief.