Program on Skills, Credentials & Workforce Policy (PSCWP)


Established in January 2021, the Program on Skills, Credentials & Workforce Policy's mission is to:

  • Advance knowledge and practice in the rapidly changing U.S. labor market with special attention to the production and use of skills and credentials and their implications for racial/ethnic and gender equity, and broadly shared prosperity.
  • Promote and facilitate the use of research and expertise by education and training providers, incumbent workers, employers, learners, and those who influence, make, and implement education and workforce policy and practice.



Holly Zanville, Research Professor, GW Institute of Public Policy

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


Faculty and Staff 

Thomas Weko, Research Professor, GWIPP

Andrew Reamer, Research Professor, GW Institute of Public Policy

Mike Sanders, Senior Research Associate

Jack Karsten, Graduate Research Assistant

Current and Recent GW Research on Skills, Credentials,and Workforce Policy


Current Projects

  • Non-degree Credential Quality Project: GW research faculty and staff (Albert, Weko, Sanders) will review and compare frameworks that provide a systematic basis with which to evaluate the quality of credentialled non-degree learning. The focus of the framework review will be non-degree learning that provides opportunities for academic or career advancement and a credential that is broadly recognized within a profession, industry, or education and training system rather than a single employer or educational institution.
  • Leveraging AI for Skills Extraction & Research (LAiSER): GW research faculty and staff (Albert, Weko, Sanders) are leading a project which aims to leverage recent advances in artificial intelligence and large language models to better translate across the "languages" used to describe skills by labor market stakeholders, such as colleges and universities (through transcripts, syllabi and course descriptions), individuals (through resumes), and employers (through job descriptions and "help wanted" ads).
  • Research on State Longitudinal Data Systems: With the support of the Strada Education Foundation and in support of Strada's National Benchmark initiative, GWIPP is conducting a survey of all 50 states (plus DC) to understand the strengths and weaknesses of their state longitudinal data systems (SLDSs).
  • Non-degree Credential Research Network: Led by PI Kyle Albert with Steve Crawford, Holly Zanville, and Andrew Reamer, the Non-degree Credential Research Network (NCRN) is supported by a grant from Lumina Foundation for 2021-2023, which continued work started in a 2018-2021 initial grant. The NCRN consists of 320 researchers and stakeholders who meet to discuss new and ongoing research projects and opportunities for collaboration. The NCRN also awards $10,000 research contracts to members working to advance knowledge of non-degree credentials. The NCRN has held five major in-person meetings for researchers and research stakeholders to date, in addition to hosting a monthly webinar series.
  • Metadata Repository on Non-Degree Credentials: Led by Andrew Reamer and Kyle Albert, the PSCWP is building a metadata repository on non-degree credentials with the support of the National Science Foundation (NSF). This project is now in the third of three phases of work (assembling metadata, assessing data quality, and conducting application projects). A publicly-accessible metadata repository is hosted on the GW Institute of Public Policy website.
  • Credential As You Go: Co-led by Holly Zanville with Dr. Nan Travers from SUNY Empire State College and Larry Good, CEO from the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce, Credential As You Go is an initiative calling for a nationally recognized incremental credentialing system to capture and validate uncounted learning that enables individuals to be recognized for what they know and can do. An incremental system recognizes that many types of credentials (e.g., degrees, certificates, industry certifications, licenses, badges, microcredentials) may document an individual's learning; and that credentials are awarded by many types of providers including community and technical colleges, four-year colleges and universities, third-party organizations, employers, military, and state licensing boards. Although incremental credentialing is not new, it is not the design of the U.S. learn-and-work system. There are increasing calls to link the array of credentials of value —degree and non-degree — into an understandable, coherent system. This requires a redesign of credentialing systems across states and higher education institutions to reduce confusion, increase learning recognition, and integrate what people know and can do. Funding for Credential As You Go, which focuses on nine bodies of work (e.g., rapid-prototyping of incremental credentials in Colorado, New York, and North Carolina; research on the feasibility and outcomes of an incremental credentialing system; and national campaign to build awareness around incremental credentialing) comes from a 2021-2024 grant the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences, Transformative Research in the Education Sciences Program. Grant R305T210063. A 2022-2023 grant to support systems change around the expansion and sustainability of Credential As You has been made to CSW, to be co-lead by Zanville, Travers and Good, and managed by CSW's Melissa Goldberg.
  • Learn & Work Ecosystem Library: The Learn & Work Ecosystem Library is undertaking an initiative to make learn-and-work ecosystem information easier to find, use, and maximize for diverse stakeholders. The Library informs users about the U.S. learn-and-work ecosystem with three types of content: (1) Knowledge about key components and sub-components in the ecosystem, including links to other websites and other referrals for further information; . (2) Key projects working in these areas, to improve aspects of the ecosystem; and. (3) Networks/alliances/intermediaries focused on various of those components. The Library was founded as a is a key component of the Credential As You Go national initiative. which is establishing an evidence-based scale-up of incremental credentialing to support structural transformation of the U.S. legacy degree system that no longer adequately serves the needs of learners and employers.  The Credential As You Go National Advisory Board (13025+ members) and a Library Advisory Board (established Fall 2021) are helping to ensure that the Library's design and contents are will be useful to audiences, expand the library partnerships, and develop sustainability plans


Recently Completed Projects

  • Credential Transparency: 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 credentials – degrees, certificates, certifications, etc. This work provided the foundations for 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). (Crawford, Sheets)
  • Industry Certifications: A collaborative study with Workcred, GW Institute of Public Policy (GWIPP), and the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce (CSW) funded by Lumina Foundation, 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. (Crawford, Albert)
  • Labor Market Outcomes for Disadvantaged Youth: 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. (Albert)
  • Employer Use of Credentials in Hiring: A study of employer use of credentials in the hiring process in manufacturing firms in which we identified credentials of value to employers and explored why some employers are reluctant to use credentials in the hiring process. This study was conducted in collaboration with Workcred with grant support from the US Department of Commerce, National Institute for Standards and Technology. (Albert)
  • Counting Credentials: Under a contract with Credential Engine, the "Credential Program Count Project" produced the first reliable counts of 600,000+ discrete credentials (degree and non-degree) in the U.S. (Reamer)
  • BETS Task Force: Steve Crawford was instrumental to the founding of the BETS (Better Employment and Training Strategies) taskforce. The BETS webpage includes seven reports rich in expert policy recommendations for building a more effective workforce development system in the U.S. and ensuring the resiliency of the labor market in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Reskilling Older Workers: 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. (Albert)