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 Affiliates

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

Stephanie Cellini, 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



Research and Development on Education, Training, Credentials & Workforce Policy
(updated August 2022)

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)
  • Number of 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.
  • Learn & Work Ecosystem Library Research: Research for the report, Exploratory Study to Inform Planning for Digital Learn-and-Work Ecosystem Library. (Zanville & Tallman, November 2021). The study reviewed 18 major websites plus key words identified as useful terms in the learn and work ecosystem. Outcomes: annotated list of websites, topics covered/extent of coverage, extent of referrals to related sites and which are the most common referred sites, list of challenges in searching, and a report for Library planning. (Zanville)
  • Learn & Work Ecosystem Library Research: Developing A Digital Learn-And-Work Ecosystem Library: Laying The Groundwork For The Library Ontology (Zanville & Cemai-Hochstein, February 16, 2022). The research is foundational to the planning and development of the digital Learn and Work Ecosystem Library. (Zanville with Cemaj-Hochstein (GW GRA))
  • 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)


Current Projects

  • 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 four 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 second of three phases of work (assembling metadata, assessing data quality, and conducting application projects). By Summer 2023, we will publish reports illustrating potential uses of administrative data for assessing the prevalence and value of non-degree credentials and create a publicly-accessible metadata repository hosted on the GW Institute of Public Policy website.
  • 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.
  • 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: Led by Holly Zanville assisted by the communications firm, Weathers Strategy Group, the Learn & Work Ecosystem Library is an initiative to make learn-and-work ecosystem information easier to find, use, and maximize for diverse stakeholders. The Library will inform 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. (3) Networks/alliances focused on various of those components. The Library is a key component of the Credential As You Go 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, while promoting a national campaign to message the need for redesign of the postsecondary system and build a website to support the work. The Library will be a critical component of improving how education and industries work together and credential individuals. The Credential As You Go National Advisory Board (125+ members) and a Library Advisory Board (established Fall 2021) are helping to ensure that the Library's design and contents will be useful to audiences, expand the library partnership, and develop sustainability plans. Core seed funding through an anonymous donor fund to the GW-PSCWP supports the Library's prototype development. The U.S. Department of Education's IES grant to SUNY Empire State College for Credential as You GO also helps support the Library's development.