What Does This Site Do?

Credentials Matter identifies national trends and shares state-level information about the credentials students earn and the credentials employers demand.

Credentials Matter examines how the industry credentials students earn align with the workforce they will enter. Users can use this state credential attainment and employer demand data to align their state’s education system with workforce demand and improve state data collection practices.


Postsecondary Credential Data for Four States

Postsecondary students likely earn a majority of industry-recognized credentials. However, most states have no way of knowing what is happening in their state since they do not collect and report this data. Our latest data addition explores the supply and demand for industry-recognized credentials earned by postsecondary students in the four states that submitted postsecondary credential data: Arkansas, Colorado, Florida and Utah.

The Problem: Not All Credentials Are Created Equal

Industry-recognized credentials allow students to demonstrate the knowledge and skills required to succeed in a specific occupation or industry. However, not all credentials are valued equally in the workforce; in fact, some credentials lead students to dead-end, low-wage jobs.


Why Do Credentials Matter?

Each year, over 3 million students graduate from U.S. high schools. Whether they pursue postsecondary education or immediately enter the workforce, they will eventually enter a job market where an estimated 80% of good jobs require postsecondary credentials, according to the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce (2018).

Coupled with postsecondary and work experience, industry-recognized credentials can open doors to middle- and higher-wage careers—something that is frequently no longer possible with just a high school diploma. As states work to increase the career-readiness of their students, they can ensure CTE offerings lead to the credentials valued most in their state’s unique economy.

How Can We Prioritize High-Value Credentials?


Who We Are

Credentials Matter is a partnership between ExcelinEd and Burning Glass Technologies. This project combines ExcelinEd’s policy expertise in college and career pathways with Burning Glass’s cutting-edge labor market analytics to provide new insights into the alignment between the credentials students earn and the demand for those credentials in the workforce.

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