Program on Skills, Credentials & Workforce Policy (PSCWP)


The Program on Skills, Credentials & Workforce Policy's mission is:

  • To advance useful knowledge about the U.S. labor market and how it is changing, with special attention to the production and use of skills and credentials and to their implications for racial/ethnic and gender equity and broadly shared prosperity.
  • To promote and facilitate the use of research and expertise by students, education and training providers, incumbent workers, employers, and those who influence, make, and implement education and workforce policy and practice.
  • To provide courses, work-based learning experiences, and information resources that help to prepare students for careers in postsecondary education and workforce development ─ careers in research, policy analysis, consulting, communications management, and related fields.


Stephen Crawford, Research Professor, GW Institute of Public Policy

Holly Zanville, Research Professor, GW Institute of Public Policy

Associate Director

Kyle Albert, Assistant Research Professor, GW Institute of Public Policy


Jontae Burton, Communications Assistant, Program of Skills, Credentials & Workforce Policy

Marina Cemaj-Hochstein, Graduate Research Assistant, Program of Skills, Credentials & Workforce Policy

Linsi Goodin, Graduate Research Assistant, Program of Skills, Credentials & Workforce Policy

Faculty Affiliates

Burt Barnow, Amsterdam Professor of Public Service and of Economics, TSPPPA

Stephanie Celleni, Professor of Public Policy and Public Administration, and Economics, TSPPPA

Dylan Conger, Professor of Public Policy and Public Administration; Associate Director, TSPPPA

Michael J. Feuer, Dean and Professor, Graduate School of Education and Human Development

Lou Jacobson, Research Professor, GW Institute of Public Policy

Sharon Lynch, Research Professor, GW Institute of Public Policy

Dan Marschall, Research Professor, GW Institute of Public Policy

Lex McCusker, Director, Student Entrepreneurship Programs, Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Patrick McHugh, Associate Professor, Department of Management, GW School of Business

Don Parsons, Professor of Economics; Director of the Department's Research Program in Labor and Social Insurance; GW’s Columbian College of Arts & Sciences

Polly Pittman, Fitzhugh Mullan Professor; Director, Mullan Institute of Workforce Equity, Milken Institute School of Public Health

Andrew Reamer, Research Professor, GW Institute of Public Policy

Steven Rose, Research Professor, GW Institute of Public Policy

Mary Jean Schumann, Associate Professor & Executive Director, Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement, GW School of Nursing

Ellen Scully-Russ, Associate Professor & Dept. Chair, Human and Organizational Learning; Director, Executive Leadership Doctoral Program, GSEHD

Bob Sheets, Research Professor, GW Institute of Public Policy

Mary Tschirhart, Director, TSPPPA; Stephen Joel Trachtenberg Professor in Public Service


GWIPP Research on Education, Training, Credentials & Workforce Policy

(this is a very partial list, a work in progress, last updated 7/24/20)

Improving the Credentialing Ecosystem

A series of Lumina Foundation-funded credential-transparency projects to develop and test a standardized language and open-source platform for aggregating, comparing and disseminating critical information about all kinds of workforce credentials – degrees, certificates, certifications, etc. -- a system that subsequently became the independent nonprofit, Credential Engine. Resulting publications included chapters in two Federal Reserve Bank books: Investing in America’s Workforce: Improving Outcomes for Workers and Employers (2018) and Transforming U.S. Workforce Development Policies for the 21st Century (2015)

An ongoing study, with Workcred and the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce, of the opaque and rapidly evolving world of professional and industry certifications – their quality, value, and the career pathways they enable in healthcare, IT, manufacturing and cybersecurity.

Creation and on-going management of the Lumina-funded Non-degree Credentials Research Network -- 68 researchers plus 92 representatives of employers, practitioners and policymakers.

A study of the relationship between the duration of non-degree credentials and labor market outcomes for disadvantaged youth using public workforce data, supported by the US Department of Health and Human Services through a grant administered by the University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.

A study of employer use of credentials in the hiring process in manufacturing firms, in which we are identifying credentials of value to employers and exploring why some employers are reluctant to use credentials in the hiring process. This study is being conducted in collaboration with Workcred with grant support from the US Department of Commerce, National Institute for Standards and Technology.

A major study of the role of certifications in the U.S. labor market, funded by Lumina Foundation and conducted in collaboration with Workcred and the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce. Earlier, a PSCWP researcher co-authored a paper on the value of certification for professional arbitrators published in the British Journal of Industrial Relations.

Under a contract with Credential Engine, the Credential Program Count Project has produced the first reliable counts of all 800,000+ degree and non-degree programs in the country.

Achieving Better Outcomes in Education and Training

“State Strategies for Leveraging Employer Investments in Postsecondary Education,” a white paper for the National Commission on Financing 21st Century Higher Education (2016).

Several publications on how risk-based loans would help college students achieve better debt and career outcomes, including an article in the Suffolk Law Review and a chapter in Reinventing Financial Aid: Charting a New Course to College Affordability (Harvard Education Press, 2015).

Studies and publications funded by AARP’s Public Policy Institute, including one on reskilling older workers threatened by changing technologies and one on the effectiveness of investments in new credentials for older workers. A forthcoming project funded by the AARP-PPI will use nationally representative survey data to examine changes in the value of non-degree credentials as workers age.

Publications and an UPCEA annual meeting keynote address on business model innovation in higher education, including an article in Educause and chapter in the Continuing Higher Education Review.

Hamilton Project publications (Brookings), including: “Using Data to Improve the Performance of Workforce Training;” Improving College and Career Outcomes of Low-Performing High School Students; Policies to Reduce High-Tenured Displaced Workers’ Earnings Losses through Retraining; and Strengthening One-Stop Career Centers: Helping More Unemployed Workers Find Jobs and Build Skill.

Six-year study of the Florida College and Career Readiness Initiative. Funded by IES/DOE, this study examined the effectiveness of a statewide testing and remediation program aimed at increasing the career and college readiness of high school seniors. Earlier studies analyzed how the returns to career-oriented and academic programs at Florida community colleges and high schools vary as a function of students’ choice of courses, credentials earned, academic performance, socio-economic status, and location. These studies used large Florida administrative databases linking high school and college transcripts to wage records, and were funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, and the US Department of Education’s National Assessment of Career and Technical Education. 

A study of why the returns to US-DOL funded training are greater for men than for women and how trainees’ can increase their returns by obtaining training in high-return fields most often entered by the other sex.  This work built on an earlier study funded by the US-DOL Workforce Data Quality Initiative that used Florida’s exceptional longitudinal data systems to assess how alternative econometric models can be used to estimate the effectiveness of public and for-profit training-providers and improve workforce training outcomes in all states by making Eligible Training-Provider Lists more effective.

Research Proposals Under Development

In collaboration with Workcred and the National Governors Association, we seek funding for a multi-state study of the credentials represented on WIOA Eligible Training Provider lists and how such lists are shaped by state-level policies and practices. This project will examine the relationship between listed credentials and local labor market conditions as well as heterogeneity between states in how credential quality is defined and understood by workforce agencies.  (Concept paper available.)

A study of Florida’s conversion of an occupational license for foodservice workers into a requirement to hold one of many possible voluntary certifications. We are interested in studying Florida as a case study in the effects of introducing competition into the marketplace for professional regulation, including whether the introduction of new certification options facilitated the attainment of more training and credentials for Florida’s foodservice workforce. (Concept paper available.)

A study of employer-provided tuition aid programs that seeks to collect survey data from a wide cross section of employers to better understand the prevalence of tuition assistance, the perceived benefits and costs of such programs, and best practices that could encourage more employees to take advantage of tuition benefits. (Concept paper available.)