Credentials MatterA National Landscape of High School Student Credential Attainment Compared to Workforce Demand
About the Project
Credentials Matter is a partnership between ExcelinEd and Burning Glass Technologies. This ongoing, comprehensive research project seeks to understand the industry credential landscape in the United States and provide actionable data analysis and resources for states and the public.
This project was made possible by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York. The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of the authors.
Burning Glass Technologies is making high-level job postings data public to enable researchers to track the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on job markets.
Burning Glass research on hybrid jobs, and purple squirrels is cited by Thomas in an article on developing soft-skills in technical careers.
In 2019, not a single state had its industry credentials “highly aligned” with the job market, while more than 20 states didn’t collect the data needed to tell whether they were aligned with what employers wanted or not. In 2020, the nation’s job credentials are still largely out of alignment with what employers want, but more states are now collecting data on the attainment of credentials, according to the latest research by ExcelinEd and Burning Glass Technologies.
The Credentials Matter reports are the result of an ongoing research partnership designed to shed light to provide new insights into the alignment between the credentials high school students earn and the demand for those credentials in the workforce. The project is intended to inform key policy decisions about which career pathways and associated credentials lead to middle and high wage employment opportunities and continued advancement for students.
Key findings include:
- 33 states are now collecting quantitative data on the attainment of credentials.
- Of the 30 states where data was made available, no state is highly aligned in terms of supply of credentials earned by high school students and demand for those credentials in the job market.
- States do not have consistent definitions for what constitutes an industry-recognized credential—even though high school students earn hundreds of thousands of credentials each year.
- Many credentials are not explicitly requested in employer job listings, despite the fact that the credentials may be required or desired for the position.
The companion Credentials Matter website allows policymakers to review state-by-state data on credential alignment, where data is available.