Non-degree Credentials Research Network (NCRN)

February 10, 2024

The Non-Degree Credentials Research Network (NCRN) is a project funded through a grant from Lumina Foundation and managed by researchers at the George Washington Institute of Public Policy (GWIPP) and the Education and Employment Research Center at Rutgers University (EERC). The NCRN is a multi-disciplinary community of scholars, practitioners and policymakers that focuses on the little-understood role of certificates, certifications and other non-degree credentials in the labor market. Effective February 2024, most NCRN content is hosted on the Rutgers NCRN website - including information on past webinars and reports and a form to sign up for email updates.

The next meeting of the NCRN will be on May 10, 2024 at the Mount Vernon Campus of George Washington University. Additional information can be found on our new website, linked below.

New NCRN Homepage

All information below is archived from before 2/10/2024

Recent Webinars

The Impact of New Technology on Research on Skills and Credentials (January 18, 2024)

New technology is creating new opportunities for how we study the relationship between credentials and skills. Today’s research has the potential to enable a new generation of data tools that could help employers identify untapped sources of talent, aid higher education institutions in designing high-quality credentials, and empower individuals to make better-informed career decisions. We hosted a special hybrid event with Thomas Weko of GWU and Rupert Ward of the University of Huddersfield to explore new opportunities for research at the intersection of skills and credentials.

The Abundant University: Remaking Higher Education for a Digital World (November 28, 2023)

For too long, our system of higher education has been defined by scarcity: scarcity in enrollment, scarcity in instruction, and scarcity in credentials. In addition to failing students professionally, this system has exacerbated social injustice and socioeconomic stratification across the globe. In this special "book talk" webinar, Michael Smith of Carnegie Mellon University argued that the only way to create a financially and morally sustainable higher education system is for higher education to embrace digital technologies for enrolling and instructing, and credentialing students; and for employers to more fully embrace online credentials, micro-credentials, and certificates in their hiring processes.


Postbaccalaureate Credentials and Certificates: What do we Know? What do we Want to Know? (October 12, 2023)

Matthew Linton and Enyu Zhou of the Council of Graduate Schools presented an exploration of the landscape of post-baccalaureate non-degree credentials and highlighted key remaining research questions. Research conducted by CGS aimed why these programs are being developed, who is enrolling in them, whether they compete with or complement existing degrees, what skills and competencies are most in demand, and how these programs meet employer need. The presenters argued that better understanding this blended credential ecosystem is the first step in assessing program value for students and employers as well as creating best practices to guide program creation and assessment.

A New Approach to Financing Microcredentials (September 19, 2023)

Building on a recent Talent Finance workgroup co-chaired by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), this session - led by Jason Tyszko of the Chamber Foundation - explored a new and transformational approach to upskilling and reskilling through the reimagining of employee education benefits. Participants learned about how the Chamber Foundation’s plans to develop and test a new type of employer-backed skills savings account that can enable quick and easy access to skill development opportunities for working learners. In addition, this session explored how this new finance innovation can help scale the issuing and use of LERs.

Webinar on the Digitalization of Credentials and Skills (August 8, 2023)

Sean Gallagher and Ellen Stoddard from Northeastern University’s Center for the Future of Higher Education & Talent Strategy shared findings from several recent studies focused on the digital credentialing landscape and the emergence of the “skillstech” market. Each study explored the evolution of employer practices and the implications of those practices for postsecondary institutions and other learning providers. They shared insights focused on the implications of their research for participants in the ecosystem, as well as their perspectives on opportunities for future research related to employer and institutional adoption of microcredentials and the growth of skills-based hiring.

Download presentation slides

NCRN Spring Conference Recap

Thanks to all 130+ of you who attended the NCRN's spring conference, either in-person or online. Click below for powerpoint presentations from the conference, and be sure to subscribe to our e-mail list to be among the first to know about future NCRN events!

View Presentation Slides


Conference Compendium and "State of the Field" Report

Click below to access a compendium of transcripts from select sessions at our 2023 Spring Conference and the cumulative report associated with our 2021-23 grant cycle, Recent Developments and New Opportunities for Non-degree Credentialing Research.




Who are we?

We are a network of researchers working on various types of non-degree credentialing including licenses, certifications, apprenticeships, certificates, and micro-credentials. The NCRN includes experts from higher education institutions, research firms, and nonprofit organizations, among others.


2022 Spring Conference Compendium

Click here to download a compendium of session transcripts and summaries from our April 2022 conference, Non-degree Credentials on the Move. The compendium covers each of our six core panels: international developments, skills-based hiring, public policy, higher education, data systems and the Credential As You Go initiative. We sincerely thank all of our panelists for a truly informative and valuable conference!



Other Reports and Resources

New Directions for Non-degree Credentialing Research - Stakeholder Summary

Non-Degree Credentials Literature Scan

NCRN Shared Zotero Library


NCRN 2022 Winter Meeting

Representatives of several research organizations met on December 2, 2022 to present updates on key research projects and policy initiatives underway. Slides from selected presentations are available via the links below:

In addition, Andrew Reamer moderated a discussion with Elisabeth Reynolds on credentials and U.S. industrial policy. Slides from Andrew's presentation.


Other Past Events

Please refer to the collapsible menu at the bottom of the "Member Resources" page to view past webinar descriptions and slides.






Member Resources