The Non-Degree Credentials Research Network (NCRN) Project

April 01, 2019

The Non-Degree Credentials Research Network (NCRN) is two year project funded through a grant from the Lumina Foundation and managed by researchers at the George Washington Institute of Public Policy (GWIPP). The NCRN is a small and by-invitation only group of leading researchers and key stakeholders (employers, policy makers and providers of employment, training and certification). The purpose is to clarify what is currently known about such credentials (certificates, certifications, apprenticeships, licenses, micro-credentials, etc.) and their place in the broader credentialing ecosystem; determine what new research is needed; identify lessons learned in the course of the project and their implications for policy and practice; and share the project’s findings with practitioners, policymakers and other stakeholders. If you are interested in joining NCRN please contact Steve Crawford at GWIPP.

Upcoming Events

NCRN Webinar on the Impact of Pandemic-Induced Unemployment on Training and Credentials

At 1 pm on Wednesday, July 1, the NCRN will host 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. The featured speakers will be two researchers: 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 will present the latest data on employment trends, and Iris will discuss the effectiveness of past government programs to promote the reskilling of displaced workers. 

This webinar will also involve 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. The respondents will share insights from the field about the impact of the pandemic on the world of job training and higher education, including non-degree credentials.

Due to a Lumina Foundation event starting at 2pm, we will aim to wrap up this webinar by 1:45pm. As we are using the “events” function in WebEx, participants (other than panelists) need not activate their cameras.

Pre-register here to receive an automated reminder on the morning of the event.

The NCRN Project aims to: 
  • Create a knowledge-sharing and collaboration-facilitating network of researchers with expertise on the distribution, production, consumption, use and value of non-degree workforce credentials
  • Assess the current state of our knowledge about such credentials, map existing research, and identify needs and opportunities for new research; and
  • Produce an annual synthesis of what is learned, including recommendations for educational and workforce development practice and policy; and
  • Communicate effectively the lessons learned to practitioners and policymakers as well as the broader research community.  
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. 
Steve Crawford, Research Professor, GWIPP. Dr. Crawford serves as the project’s principal investigator. Dr. Crawford can be contacted via email at  [email protected]
Kyle Albert, Assistant Research Professor, GWIPP. Dr. Albert manages the project’s day-to-day activities. Dr. Albert can be contact via email at [email protected]
Advisory Council. The advisory council assists project staff in identifying relevant data, research and scholars; reviewing and commenting on the project's reports; and planning effective dissemination of the lessons learned. Its members are:
  • Dr. Mary Alice McCarthy (director, New America's Center on Education and Skills - New America), 
  • Dr. Heather McKay (director, Education and Employment Research Center, Rutger's School of Management and Labor Relations)
  • Dr. Andrew Reamer (research professor, GWU/GWIPP)
  • Dr. Bob Sheets (research professor, GWU/GWIPP)
  • Dr. Roy Swift (executive director, Workcred)
  • Dr. Jeff Strohl (research director, Georgetown's Center on Education and the Workforce) 
  • Dr. Michelle Van Noy (associate director, Education and Employment Research Center, Rutger's School of Management and Labor Relations)
  • Dr. Sean Gallagher (director, Center for the Future of Higher Education and Talent Strategy,Northeastern University)
  • Dr. Larry Good (chair and senior fellow, Corporation for a Skilled Workforce).



Do you represent a stakeholder organization or simply want to stay up-to-date on the NCRN’s work? Join the NCRN’s stakeholder email list by sending “SUB NCRN-PUBLIC” in the body of an email message (with no subject line or other text) to [email protected].


Meeting and Webinar Presentations and Photos

Materials from 1/27/20 Research Meeting

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

Materials from 8/12/19 Research Meeting

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

Webinar on Non-Degree Credential Quality
NCRN's Literature Scan and Zotero Library
Recent Related Research Publications


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.