The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic crisis are putting a premium on upskilling — giving workers new skills to meet new workforce demands — and on greater transparency around the skills and knowledge required for in-demand jobs. To meet this demand, nearly all states have an attainment goal. But most of those systems don’t include vital information about the credentials available within a state, including the credential program’s length and cost; competencies included in the credential, and their links to job skills; pathway information; and earnings and employment outcomes. All of which are essential pieces of information that people, institutions, and organizations need if they are to recover effectively and efficiently.
The current economic climate reinforces the urgency of states to: (1) Align their educational offerings with the needs of employers; (2) create clear pathways among credentials of quality to meet workforce demands; and (3) communicate those pathways to both learners and employers.
Governors, agency leadership, and legislators play an essential role in efforts to increase credential transparency, which will ultimately help states reach completion and workforce goals. Leadership matters. Support from these policy leaders is all the more critical in a climate of competing priorities, agendas and budgets, particularly as states continue to respond to the coronavirus pandemic and the related increases in unemployment, poverty, the need for reskilling, and the availability of short-term, online offerings that have little outcome data.