Network aims to close ‘skills gap’

To close the job skills gap, the National Network of Business and Industry Associations is working to set national standards for industry-approved job credentials, make education and job training more effective and efficient, expand work-based learning, encourage employers to “hire for competency” and create more pathways to good jobs.

Employers want to “improve the quality of credentials used for hiring and promotion,” writes Mary Alice McCarthy on EdCentral.  

The focus reflects growing and widespread frustration with the opacity of existing educational credentials, particularly academic degrees, which tell employers relatively little about what a graduate can actually do. It is also a response to the proliferation of non-degree credentials over the past decade, such as certifications, certificates, and badges, and the difficulty employers (and job seekers) confront in evaluating the value of these new credentials. Many of them are only as good as the paper they are printed on. But others, particularly industry-accredited, standards-based certifications and competency-based certificates with third-party assessments, do a great job reliably validating the skills and competencies employers need.  

. . . If the Network can build trust in, and widespread adoption of, industry-wide credentials among their members, it can serve as an essential foundation from which to drive change in educational programs and improve labor market outcomes.

Credential confusion makes it hard for employers to find talent and difficult for students to make good college and career choices, concludes McCarthy.