Web-based credential registry to be first of its kind

By Chase Myers, @chasemyers_DE

Finding a job requirement or potential employee will soon just be a click away.

SIU is one of three partner organizations participating in a nationwide initiative funded by a $2.25 million Lumina Foundation grant to create a web-based credentials registry.

The public will soon have access to a directory of credentials, such as available degrees and awards, as well as who has already acquired some.

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The university’s Center for Workforce Development will be responsible for technological development and will be working close with the George Washington Institute of Public Policy at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and Workcred, an affiliate of the American National Standards Institute.

The Lumina Project is a private foundation dedicated to increasing the amount of Americans with degrees and credentials to 60 percent by 2025, while Workcred provides support to strengthen the credentials system, according to an SIU press release.

Roy Swift, executive director of Workcred, is a participating member of the initiative whose role is to look at methods of defining certain aspects of the project, such as terminology, endorsements and who recognizes credentials.

“We do think it’s the first time there would be a national registry that would have as much in depth information about a credential,” Swift said.

The registry will give students the ability to research certain credentials needed for their career field, as well as give employers a resource for potential employees, he said.

“I believe this is the kind of information that will really be helpful to people in a new and improved kind of way,” Jeanne Kitchens, associate director of the Center for Workforce Development said. “Whether you are a student, a parent or a person in a career transition, this will help.”

Kitchens is also the university’s representative on the project team.

The project staff is also developing an app allowing users access to the websites of participating credential issuers, the press release states.

While this initiative will help potential employees in the workforce, it will greatly benefit industries and fields requiring credentials such as business and engineering, he said.

“One of the real benefits is that this allows us help bridge the gaps that occur at times between industries like business and higher education,” Swift said.

He said while the grant became available to the initiative on July 1, the idea for the registry has been in the works since July 2014.

It will involve more than 50 major stakeholders, including an executive advisory committee from the American Council on Education, the American Association of Community Colleges, the Business Roundtable, the Committee for Economic Development of The Conference Board, the Manufacturing Institute and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, according to the press release.

“We think that with credentials being an important aspect of the workforce and the future, this type of initiative is so important to help all stakeholders,” he said.

Swift said he thinks this initiative will not only allow users to better their understanding of credentials, but increase quality improvement in the workforce.

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