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).
Industry-recognized credentials convey a student’s career readiness because they validate the knowledge and skills required for success in a given occupation or industry. In fact, full-time employees with an industry credential earn more than their counterparts without one, and in some cases, the salaries of non-degree credential holders’ were found to be similar to workers with college degrees, according to the National Skills Coalition.
As states work to increase the career-readiness of their students, they can ensure that CTE offerings lead to the credentials valued most in their state’s unique workforce.
About the Project
Credentials Matter, a first-of-its-kind analysis, examines how the credentials students earn align with real-world employer demand. This project includes this website and a series of reports, all of which are informed by the most extensive collection and analysis of supply, demand and alignment data of industry-recognized credentials earned in states.
Credentials Matter findings and recommendations represent a critical first step to helping a range of stakeholders understand the current landscape of credentials earned and evaluate whether those credentials have currency in the job market.
We hope Credentials Matter will inform and inspire efforts to build a better career education system for our students and their futures.
In this new phase, we have updated the website and published a new report to present and analyze current credential attainment data from across the nation.
CredentialsMatter.org now offers:
- Updated and expanded credential attainment data to reflect the most recent findings and the fact that more states are beginning to collect data and
- Postsecondary credential attainment data to better explore the full impact of CTE pathways that begin in high schools and terminate in postsecondary study.
Research Questions and Methodology
The updated report and CredentialsMatter.org answer the following critical questions:
- How many states are collecting data on student credential attainment, and what data collection methods are they using?
- Which credentials are currently being earned by students, and how do those credentials align with employer demand?
- How do states support credential attainment through: policy and funding, including financial investments and incentives; graduation requirements; and accountability or outcomes-based funding, where applicable?
To answer these questions, this report uses four data collection and analyses methods.
- Supply Data Collection
- Survey Data Collection
- Demand Data Collection
- Alignment Category