By: Patricia Levesque, CEO of ExcelinEd & Matt Sigelman, CEO of Burning Glass Technologies
“Career readiness” has become the policymakers’ buzzword of the 21st century. States offer a wide range of career and technical education programs and credentials intended to prepare students for success. But how effective — and relevant — are these programs and the credentials that students are earning?
New research from ExcelinEd and Burning Glass Technologies shows that just half of all states collect the necessary data to know how aligned their credentials programs are with employer demand. And states have a long way to go to align the credentials high school students are earning with actual workforce needs.
Credentials Matter is a first-of-its-kind analysis of how the credentials that students earn are aligned with the skills that employers need by comparing state data on attainment with labor market demand based on job postings.
Understanding alignment is important because U.S. employers continue to struggle to find qualified applicants across a range of career sectors. In 12 career areas, including healthcare and computers and mathematics, demand for workers exceeded available supply in 2016 by a total of 4.4 million job openings.
U.S. high school students earn hundreds of thousands of credentials each year as part of state career and technical education (CTE) programs. Unfortunately, new research shows the information and data on the effectiveness of these credentials is extremely limited in most states, if it even exists at all.
Credentials Matter is an ongoing research partnership between ExcelinEd and Burning Glass Technologies designed to shed light on the landscape of industry credential data collection and alignment across the country. The project provides insight into how industry credentials earned by high school students align with workforce demand in each state to inform education system improvements and state data collection practices. Visit ExcelinEd.org/CredentialsMatter for more information.
Credentials Matter 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.