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Calling all Credentialing Organizations: Join a Movement Driving the Future Credentialing Ecosystem

February 8, 2017  | By  | Leave a comment

By Roy A. Swift, Ph.D., Executive Director, Workcred

What do credentials really mean, anyway? Are they truly valuable or worth the paper they are written on? How do they relate to each other . . . to learning and performance . . . to employ-ability?

These are among the many questions that job seekers, students, workers, and employers ask every day in trying to make sense of our credentialing system. From industry certifications and certificates to degrees, badges, and micro-credentials, job seekers, students, and workers have more choice than ever to help them get ahead, but the sheer number of credentials and a lack of transparency has created confusion for them and for employers looking to build their workforce.

To address this credentialing chaos, a groundbreaking initiative has created a web-based Credential Registry that enables stakeholders to search for and compare credentials, just as travel apps are used to compare flights, rental cars, and hotels. At Workcred, an affiliate of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) focused on workforce credentialing, we strongly believe that the registry has the power to bring about a more coherent, transparent credentialing ecosystem.

Let me be clear: this is not just another fad. By all indications, the registry is paving the way of the future credentialing ecosystem. Momentum and support are building fast. A new non-profit, Credential Engine, has been established to scale up the registry from its pilot phase and sustain its operation for the long term. Four advisory groups representing pillars of the credentialing world – business; higher education; certification and licensure; and quality assurance – are providing strategy direction. As chair of the certification and licensure advisory group, I am particularly pleased that the voice of the certification and licensure community will play a leading role in guiding this important effort.

A major September 2016 event[1] debuted WORKIT, a prototype credential search software app powered by the registry, to an audience of more than 800 business, higher education, and credentialing stakeholders. More than ninety percent of survey respondents reported the registry and app add value to what currently exists in the credentialing space. WORKIT is just one of many apps that can be built on the open-source registry to meet the needs of stakeholders. Just imagine the possibilities! New apps emerging in a competitive apps marketplace can provide certification bodies, employers, job seekers, higher education institutions, and others with unique ways to uncover new opportunities. In fact, among the first things that the certification and licensure advisory group will be doing are considering how a certification/licensure app designed on the registry could provide benefit and exploring strategies on how the registry can be used to promote quality and market valued certifications and licenses.

Join the Movement

Dozens of certification- and certificate- issuing organizations, post-secondary institutions, and quality assurance entities are already providing information about their credentials or quality assurance processes to the registry. We invite your organization to join the movement.

Posting information to the registry about your certification or licensure programs allows them to be more easily found, understood, and compared. Your program benefits when prospective applicants, employers, and others can easily understand the distinct features, quality, value, and effectiveness of the certification. By joining as a registry participant, you will also be able to search the registry for comparable programs, which can help your organization make more informed decisions when creating new or enhancing existing programs.

There is no fee to join, and participation will allow your organization to:

  • Be at the forefront of a transformative movement driving the new credentialing ecosystem
  • Gain greater visibility to a vast market of students, employers and others
  • Demonstrate a commitment to credential and quality assurance transparency
  • Receive a suite of services beneficial to short- and long-term technology planning, including information about web 3.0 technologies and a road-map to enabling Linked Data
  • Influence the initiative by providing feedback throughout the process

So don’t wait. Become an early adopter of this national movement that will change the face of the credentialing ecosystem.

For more information, visit or contact

[1] On the Road to Improving the Credentialing Ecosystem: Next Steps for the Credential Registry (September 19, 2016)

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