By Marcia Black-Watson, Director of Industry Engagement for the Michigan Talent Investment Agency

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.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder recently signed into law the Marshall Plan for Talent, which appropriates $100 million in Fiscal Year 2018 from the Talent Investment Fund to improve the state’s talent pool.

The Marshall Plan aims to fill the state’s talent gap and better prepare students for high-paying, in-demand careers, by investing millions in innovative job training, workforce development, and education programs. This includes $30 million to create and expand competency-based programs that result in competencies or credentials in high-demand fields.

In line with the Marshall Plan, the Michigan Talent Investment Agency (TIA) has partnered with Credential Engine to create an accurate and extensive scope and understanding of available credentials in Michigan. To achieve this goal, Michigan will leverage its partnership with Credential Engine to further its efforts around expanding Registered Apprenticeships, using the Michigan Education and Career Pathfinder as an accurate and effective method for career exploration, and identifying and mapping Career Pathways in Michigan. TIA will lead this effort with guidance, knowledge and assistance from partners and stakeholders in the business community, workforce development, education and training, community-based organizations, economic development, and labor.

TIA’s specific approaches include:

Registered Apprenticeships

In addition to identifying and integrating already existing credentials, TIA will work closely with the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) to segment select apprenticeship programs into skill gains components (longer than one year), which can serve as a credential. This is similar to competency-based Registered Apprenticeship programs, but the enhancement will be to intentionally issue a certificate or credential upon the completion of certain skill-gain benchmarks.

Michigan Education and Career Pathfinder

Currently, the Pathfinder database includes degrees, diplomas and certificates of completion offered within Michigan, but lacks the cataloging of certificates, licenses, and other credentials that are necessary to work in or support in-demand occupations and/or career pathways. The Credential Registry will be a catalyst for comprehensively cataloging less apparent credential opportunities. This will give Michigan residents the full picture when deciding upon future career opportunities.

Career Pathways

TIA, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE), and Maher & Maher are currently undergoing an effort to identify and map career pathways for in-demand occupations, including the development and dissemination of a Career Pathways electronic toolkit. The Credential Registry would help set parameters around, and provide technical assistance for, the Career Pathways effort. All credentials identified would be components of the appropriate Career Pathways maps.

Initially, TIA will focus on the industry sectors in Michigan that have significant projected openings across the state, with the potential of having the most impact on the state’s economy. These industry sectors include:  health care, information technology, manufacturing, and professional trades. TIA needs to ensure that all credentials impacting these sectors are counted, documented, and cataloged to identify available career tracks and properly gauge the impact workforce and education programs are having on these sectors.

TIA will survey Michigan credentialing organizations and plans to schedule Credential Registry Forums to allow credentialing agencies to attend and understand how to place their credentials on the Registry. This opportunity from Credential Engine will allow the TIA to support Marshall Plan and current efforts in order to have an accurate and extensive scope and understanding of available credentials in Michigan. TIA considers this partnership vital to furthering education and career success initiatives in the state.


This wraps up our first state blog series. Thank you to all of our partners who shared their stories. If you’d like to learn more about publishing, please contact us at

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