Building Credential Currency

Resources to Drive Attainment across K-12, Higher Education, and Workforce Development

Across the country, the pathway to economic security and self-sufficiency looks far different than it once did. Significant economic shifts—spurred both by rapid technological advancement and the downturn of the Great Recession— have fundamentally altered the reality of education and work. Postsecondary education is now a requirement to access good jobs, and there are many more pathways learners can take to get there, including those that culminate in non- degree credentials.

The choices states make about which non-degree credentials “count” will either encourage learners down a meaningful career path or unwittingly steer them to pursue lower-value credentials that do not lead to good jobs.  Education Strategy Group is pleased to share this toolkit that lays out an evidence-based methodology that K-12, postsecondary, and workforce development leaders in any state can use to approach this work with greater confidence.

On this page, you will find a collection of tools that provide strategic and technical guidance to states committed to identifying and scaling attainment of non-degree credentials aligned to in-demand, high-skill, high-wage occupations.  The images below will allow you to browse through sections of the report and the drop-down menu below will provide access to customizable versions of the tools referenced in the toolkit.

                              

States and communities should use the following step-by-step process to ensure that students earn high-value credentials:

 

Identify in-demand, high-skill, high-wage occupations and associated non-degree credentials using the following steps (click on the image to learn more).

Validate the findings with employers and finalizing a statewide list of “priority” non-degree credentials (click on the image to learn more).

Incentivize priority non-degree credential attainment through funding strategies for schools and colleges, articulated postsecondary credit for high school earners, and rigorous accountability systems (click on the image to learn more).

Report and monitoring priority non-degree credential attainment with reliable, verified data (click on the image to learn more).            

For customizable versions of the tools in this toolkit, click below:

Non-Degree Credential of Value Self-Assessment Tool

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The Non-Degree Credential of Value Self-Assessment Tool is designed to assist state teams to identify where their current practices are strong and where there is room for improvement. 

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Sample Data-Sharing MOU

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This sample agreement is included within the toolkit to give states a ready-made option for a memorandum of understanding with credentialing exam vendors. Cross-sector state teams may adapt and adopt this agreement as described in the guidelines in the toolkit.

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Sample Employer Survey

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This sample survey is included within the toolkit to give states a ready-made option for survey administration. Cross-sector state teams may adapt and adopt this survey and administer it as described in the guidelines in the toolkit to determine the extent to which a representative sample of employers from in-demand, high-skill, high-wage occupations agrees each non-degree credential should be included on the state’s priority list.

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Sample Focus Group Protocol

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This sample focus group protocol is included within the toolkit to give states a ready-made option for conducting focus groups. Cross-sector state teams may adapt and adopt this protocol and use it as described in the guidelines in the toolkit.

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