The Hechinger Report recently published an article (also picked up by The Washington Post) that explores some of the challenges associated with a growing credential landscape that lacks the transparency needed by learners and workers to overcome barriers. As the article states:
There is, in fact, a “maze” of 967,734 unique education credentials in the United States, the nonprofit Credential Engine reports, including not only degrees but also badges, certificates, licenses, apprenticeships and industry certifications. The figure is expected to have only grown during the pandemic as more people seek education and training.
This is causing growing confusion among employers scrambling for workers — and increasing concern among university registrars and others about whether unsavory players may be taking advantage of the situation to sell fraudulent credentials…
Backed by employers, Credential Engine is building a registry of credentials with the formidable goal of eventually listing all of them, along with the format of instruction, whether they’re accredited, how long they take and what jobs they may lead to.
“It’s a shame, and it’s also a bit of a social crime that we don’t make this information freely available yet to all consumers,” said Scott Cheney, Credential Engine’s CEO.
“There are credentials that are offered legally that don’t help move someone along,” Cheney said. “They leave people in debt, they don’t lead to jobs, they aren’t respected by employers. If you live in any major city, you’re going to see ads on the bus advertising those programs. I want to make sure people can get information about whether or not what’s in that ad has value or leads to a dead end.”