Member Resources

NCRN 2022 Conference: Non-degree Credentials on the Move


Opportunities to Comment on Federal Data Collections

Andrew Reamer presented to the NCRN on the many upcoming opportunities for researchers to shape federal data collection policy concerning non-degree credentials. In the spreadsheet linked below, he lists all known active federal survey data collection efforts concerning non-degree credentials with details on when researchers can submit comments to relevant agencies.


NCRN's Literature Scan and Zotero Library

Past NCRN Events

The NICE Framework for Cybersecurity & Cybersecurity Credentials (July 2023)

Michael Prebil and Karen Wetzel of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) presented an overview of the NICE (National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education) Workforce Framework, including use cases and examples of how the framework is being implemented in the field. NCRN members had the opportunity to learn about workforce and credentialing issues affecting all aspects of cybersecurity, including the roles of employers, training providers, and job seekers in enhancing the quality and value of cybersecurity credentials.

Updates on the WorkRise Initiative with Todd Greene and Caleb Quakenbush

On Thursday, August 25th, the NCRN gathered for an update on the WorkRise Network, including their recent round of research grants and a new report on employer practices and worker outcomes. WorkRise director Todd Greene and Urban Institute researcher Caleb Quakenbush answer NCRN members' questions about WorkRise's funding priorities, funded research, and opportunities to for NCRN members to collaborate in the future.

Skill Profiles and Portability of Credentials for Technical Workforce in Virginia

In a webinar on Wednesday, July 27, Cesar Montalvo of the University of Virginia Biocomplexity Institute, Social and Decision Analytics Division presented to the NCRN on how technical skill prevalence shapes the salary returns and the connection between credentials and career pathways for skill-intensive occupations. His team's research uses Burning Glass Technology information for the State of Virginia and focuses on five major occupation groups, including Construction, Maintenance, Production, Transportation and Healthcare. Cesar and his colleagues determined the skill "genome" of occupational groups and constructed a metric for skill importance to classify skills according to technical components. The research helped identify returns for technical skills within occupations, which helps to inform individuals about career pathways that may lead to technical occupations through reskilling and credential seeking.

Employer Views on Non-Degree Credentials: Findings from Two National Surveys (March 24, 2022)

This webinar presented  the results of two unique yet complementary survey research projects that explored employers' perspectives on non-degree credentials. Insights may inform the implementation of policies and practices that promote high-quality credentialing. Mary Wright of the SHRM Foundation and Daniel Stunes of SHRM Research presented the results of a national survey of three employer groups (executives, HR practitioners, and supervisors) that explored their familiarity with and perceptions of non-degree credentials. Sean Gallagher of Northeastern University then described a survey that focused on employers' readiness to adopt and their use of digital credentials and competency frameworks. Open discussion focused on the potential implications of these surveys and remaining gaps in our understanding of how employers use credentials.

Webinar on the GW-PSCWP/CSW/Workcred Industry Certifications Landscape Study (March 3, 2022 - 1:00PM EST). 

This webinar focused on research completed by Workcred, the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce, and the Program on Skills, Credentials & Workforce Policy at George Washington University to survey the landscape of industry certification programs. Researchers from each organization conducted "deep dive" interviews with certification bodies to learn about their models of quality assurance, how their certification programs approach labor market equity, and how certification compares to other types of credentials. The team presented recommendations on how policymakers and certification organizations can amplify the role of certification in creating a more equitable and prosperous labor market. Read the full presentation.

January NCRN Webinar on Education and Training Policy (January 18,2021, 1PM EST)

Dr. Alexander Camardelle, Director, Workforce Policy explored the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies's growing research agenda that seeks to understand the relationship between education and training policy and the success of Black workers. You can view his slides here (PPT). Read our report on his presentation here (PDF).

Innovations in Community Colleges & IPEDS Update (December 1, 2021, 1 PM EST)

Opportunity America president Tamar Jacoby presented (PPT) the findings of a recent study on innovative practices in community colleges and their implications for policy. The study covers such practices as nondegree programs, stackable credentials, intensive employer partnerships, crossover from noncredit to credit and more, providing benchmarks higher education leaders can use as they advance innovation on their campuses.

In a separate presentation (approximately 1:00-1:15pm, EST), Tara Lawley of the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education updated (PPT) the NCRN on efforts to add data on noncredit attainment to the Integrated Post-Secondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Since a unique feature of the NCRN’s webinars is coupling timely presentations on research with discussion among researchers and users of research, the NCRN is sharing its discussions here.

NDC Administrative Data Project (November 4, 2021, 1 PM EDT)

The George Washington University and the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness presented on their joint project to find, evaluate, and use administrative datasets to study non-degree credentials. In this interactive webinar we will solicit feedback on our preliminary list of potential data sources and key definitions we will adopt. We will also present an overview of our proposed approaches to assessing the quality of administrative datasets, and describe our plans for building a repository of credentialing data that benefits the non-degree research community.

Credentials: Problems, Opportunities, Solutions (October 14, 2021, 1 PM EDT)

NCRN members Paul Gaston and Michelle Van Noy presented takeaways from their new book and practical suggestions especially for postsecondary education administrators, faculty members, and academic advisors.  Michelle is Associate Director, Education and Employment Research Center, School of Management and Labor Relations, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; and Paul L. Gaston is Trustees Professor Emeritus, Kent State University and Distinguished Fellow, AAC&U. 

Research Initiatives in Ontario, Canada (September 9, 2021, 1- 2 PM EST)

Jackie Pichette, Director of Policy, Research and Partnerships at the Higher Education Quality Council, Ontario presented research on microcredentialing developments in Ontario. 

Skills-Based Employer Practices (August 18, 2021, 1 PM EST)

Implementation of skills-based practices into the human capital life cycle has emerged as a more agile means of supporting organizational workforce needs and goals, while increasing career opportunities for a broader range of people (e.g., those without college degrees) and improving organizational diversity.  One critical aspect in the implementation of skills-based practices is to be able to measure and track the skills that employees learn on the job. American Institutes for Research (AIR) researchers will present the results of research, funded through a grant from Walmart, which looked at the landscape of employer skill validation practices and the systems and tools that support them through case study interviews with 10 employers and 5 tool providers.

Speakers include Christina Curnow, Managing Director, American Institutes for Research, and Rob Calderón, Principal I/O Researcher, American Institutes for Research

Full Membership NCRN Webinar: (July 15th, 2021, 1 PM EST)

Presentation from Kyle Albert on the NCRN’s RFP and other upcoming NCRN initiatives, including an update on where we are with respect to planning in-person meetings. Introduction of GWU/NCRN partnership with Workforce Monitor and its publisher, George Lorenzo. Updates on in-progress research and any other updates that would be of interest to NCRN members. All participants were invited to speak and share their work.

Workforce Data Infrastructure (June 3, 2021, 1 PM EST)

This NCRN webinar was held on June 3 at 1 pm ET. U.S. Chamber Foundation VP Jason A. Tyszko presented on his center's efforts to modernize workforce data and enabling infrastructures, giving special attention to the T3 Network of Networks, Jobs and Employments Data Exchange (JEDx), and an initiative around Learning and Employment Records (LERs). 

Microcredentials featuring Gillian Golden and Thomas Weko (April 22, 2021, 1 PM EST)

This NCRN webinar, "Microcredentials: The Race Between Innovation and Public Regulation," featured Gillian Golden and Thomas Weko of the OECD. Gillian Golden is a policy analyst in the Higher Education Policy Team of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. She currently is the project lead for initiatives related to new data and evidence development. Thomas Weko is a Senior Analyst in Education and Skills Directorate of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), where he leads the work of the Higher Education Policy Team. They described some of their research on the adoption of non-degree credentials and divergences among OECD member countries in public policy towards NDCs. 

IPEDS, featuring Mark Schneider, Ross Santy, and Tara Lawley (March 4, 2021)

The NCRN hosted a discussion of the future of the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Institute of Education Sciences Director Mark Schneider updated the network about other IES initiatives and answered questions.

Overview of WorkRise with Todd Greene (February 18, 2021)

Todd Greene joined us to present the Urban Institute's recently-launched WorkRise initiative, which supports researchers studying the state of the pandemic-era job market and labor market inequality. 

Badges (November 24, 2020)

We hosted Louis Soares, chief learning and evaluation officer of the American Council on Education, and Jonathan Finkelstein, founder and CEO of Credly. 

Competencies in Higher Education (October 21, 2020)

Lauren Eyster and her Urban Institute colleague Molly Scott presented a webinar on their recent publication: Better Connecting Students to Jobs: A Guide for Policymakers to Encourage and Support Integrating Competencies in Postsecondary Education and Training. Charla Long, the executive director of the Competency-Based Education Network (C-BEN), was the discussant.

The Interstate Passport (August 25, 2020)

On Tuesday, August 25th we hosted a webinar discussing the Interstate Passport and its potential for use as a non-degree credential. The Interstate Passport is a program designed to enable nationwide block transfer of lower-division general education based on learning outcomes for institutions participating in the Interstate Passport Network. Presenters included Heather McKay, director of the Education and Employment Research Center at Rutgers University, Anna Galas, director of academic leadership initiatives for the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), and Lisa Ferris-McCann, director of academic integrity and quality for the American Council on Education. 

Presentation by Nan Travers (August 5, 2020)

On Wednesday, August 5th, the NCRN hosted Nan Travers of SUNY Empire State College to discuss her "Credential as You Go" project examining the incremental recognition of learning that supplements existing post-secondary degrees and certificates. After Nan's presentation, two discussants presented their views on incremental credentialing and situated Credential as You Go in the broader credentialing landscape: Kent Phillippe, Associate Vice President for Research and Student Success at the American Association of Community Colleges and Cindy Cisneros, Vice President of Education Programs at the Conference Board's Committee for Economic Development.

The Manufacturing Institute, National Student Clearinghouse, and Census Bureau's Efforts to Link Administrative Data on Certification (July 22, 2020)

On Wednesday, July 22nd, the NCRN hosted the Manufacturing Institute's VP for Strategic Initiatives, Gardner Carrick, who presented the findings of a unique research project on the earnings and trajectory of earnings before and after an individual received a manufacturing industry certification as well as how the attainment of an educational credential (certificate, Associate, Bachelor) impacted those earnings. This research was completed in collaboration with the National Student Clearinghouse (represented in this webinar by Vanessa Brown) and the Census Bureau.

The Impact of Pandemic-Induced Unemployment on Training and Credentials (July 1, 2020)

The NCRN hosted a virtual event open to all interested researchers and stakeholders on the pandemic's impact on the labor market and its implications for the organizations that provide training and credentials. Speakers included Stuart Andreason of the Atlanta Fed’s Center for Workforce and Economic Opportunity, and Iris Palmer, Senior Advisor for Higher Education and Workforce at New America. Stuart presented the latest data on employment trends, and Iris discussed the effectiveness of past government programs to promote the reskilling of displaced workers. This webinar also featured two respondents from the stakeholder community: Steven Partridge, vice president for workforce development at Northern Virginia Community College, and Kenyatta Lovett, assistant commissioner of labor in Tennessee.

Virtual Plenary on the Implications of COVID-19 for Non-Degree Credentials and Credentialing Research (June 17, 2020)

At a members-only virtual meeting led by Iris Palmer, Paul Osterman, Holly Zanville and Stuart Andreason, NCRN researchers described the challenges involved in conducting research during the COVID-19 pandemic. Members also discussed the potential policy implications of the pandemic and resulting job losses for job training and non-degree credentials. Paul Osterman's PowerPoint slides describing preliminary results of a survey on adult job training.

The National Training, Education, and Workforce Survey (June 2, 2020)

We hosted John Finamore, director of the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics at the National Science Foundation, for an informative discussion of the future of federal data collection on non-degree credentials. John presented the latest updates concerning the National Training, Education and Workforce Survey, a major effort to collect data on the educational attainment (including via non-degree credentials) of the U.S. adult population with a focus on those in the skilled technical workforce. The NTEWS is a very significant opportunity for the non-degree credentials research community to better understand who earns non-degree credentials and how credentials relate to labor market outcomes. While the NTEWS 60-day comment period closed on June 15, 2020, another comment period is anticipated prior to the administration of the survey in 2021.

Community Colleges and Non-Degree Credentials: Drivers for Change and Early Lessons Learned (May 19, 2020)

In this webinar, Sean Gallagher, co-editor of a recently published community college-focused, practitioner-oriented journal volume, “Credentials for a New Era of Work and Learning,” shared insights relevant to non-degree credentials research. Sean analyzed the factors driving community colleges' interest in non-degree credentials, discussed opportunities associated with non-degree credentials, and identified emerging trends and best practices that community colleges might consider when structuring their credentials.

Research Meeting (January 27.2020)

The following materials were presented at the January 27, 2020, NCRN meeting and are shared here with the presenters’ permission.

"An Exploratory Study of Non-Credit to Credit Conversion Activities: Selected Preliminary Findings" – Alexei G. Matveev "FEATuring You: A Badging Initiative for Opportunity Youth" – Martin Kurzweil  "The Rationalization of Hiring: Algorithms, Intermediaries, and Information" – David Bills "Understanding the Landscape of Industry and Occupational Certifications" – Larry Good "Returns to Certification (Payscale Data)" – Christos Makridis "Leveraging the T3 Network to Support and Scale Interoperable Learning Record Pilots" – Robert Sheets and Jason Tyszko "Convenings to Explore Opportunities for Integration of Four-Year Degrees and Certifications" – Roy Swift "America’s Shadow Training System: University Extension Schools in Regional Tech Economies" – John Skrentny and Mary Walshok "Occupational Licensing and Labor Market Fluidity" – Morris Kleiner and Ming Xu  "Exploring State Variations in Non-degree Professional Credentials" – Allison Forbes and Henry Renski


NDC Administrative Data Project (November 4, 2021, 1 PM EDT)

Please join us for a presentation on a joint project of George Washington University and the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness to find, evaluate, and use administrative datasets to study non-degree credentials. In this interactive webinar we will solicit feedback on our preliminary list of potential data sources and key definitions we will adopt. We will also present an overview of our proposed approaches to assessing the quality of administrative datasets, and describe our plans for building a repository of credentialing data that benefits the non-degree research community.

Webinar on Non-Degree Credentials Quality 

Michelle Van Noy: Defining the Quality of Non-Degree Credentials Amy Ellen Duke-Benfield: Expanding Opportunities: Defining Quality Non-Degree Credentials for States

Research Meeting (August 29,2019)

The following materials were presented at the August 12, 2019, NCRN meeting and are shared here with the presenters’ permission.

“The National Training, Education, and Workforce Survey” – John Finamore “Work-Based Higher Education: Insights from the US and Germany” - Inez von Weitershausen “Non-Degree Credentials Quality: A Conceptual Model to Guide Measurement” – Michelle Van Noy “Employer Perspectives on Non-Degree Credentials: Recent Research Results and Implications for Future Study” – Sean Gallagher “Job Market Signaling through Occupational Licensing” – Peter Blair