The National Laboratory for Education Transformation (NLET), a California research and development nonprofit, just released The Newest Economy: Welcome to the Credential Currency Revolution, a paper that unravels the complex relationship in the U.S. between academic degree attainment and occupational certification and their relationship to the current needs of the employment market.

In the Newest Economy, author Gordon Freedman describes the broken chain of credential management across education and training that is disconnected to a labor market that, notwithstanding the pandemic, has millions of open jobs.

“There is no mechanism to link students, adult learners and jobseekers across multiple institutions and agencies in their quest to figure out what education and training matters for which jobs in the market,” says Freedman. “What has been suggested, but never modeled, is an actual operating market-like system that assigns differential or floating values to credentials (badges, certifications or degrees) that result in jobs with some frequency.”

The blockage, the paper concludes, are the differences in traditional institutional practices and policies in high schools, colleges, universities and training and how those fail to communicate the value of their graduates or certificate holders to employers.

“As states continue down the road to recovery from the pandemic, building a more resilient economic future will include equipping learners, workers, and employers with the data they need to clearly identify which pathways will lead to the outcomes they seek,” said Scott Cheney, CEO of Credential Engine.

Read the full press release.

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