Credentials undervalued

Departments - From the Flight Deck

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Manufacturers do not use professional credentials evenly, and they don’t routinely require or use them when hiring people or promoting them. Many manufacturers do not know what credentials are available or how they are relevant to their workplace.

Those surprising findings (to me, at least) are in a study released by Workcred (www.workcred.org), an affiliate of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The study, funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), surveyed more than 900 participants representing a wide range of manufacturing sectors, facility sizes, geographic regions, and job roles. Almost as many (41% combined) responded that credentials were not used in their facility or required for employment as those (45%) who stated credentials were preferred.

Many manufacturers – especially those with fewer than 500 employees – reported they do not view credentials as the most relevant tools to identify new skilled personnel or as incentives to improve the quality of their existing workforce. Notably, manufacturers believed that credentials could serve as a critical resource if they were better understood and made more in line with skills needed in their facilities.

Company booth numbers for IMTS 2018 have a new look – 6 digits instead of 4 – so here’s a legend to help you navigate the show. So, Booth 236601 means North Hall, third floor, booth 6601.

“Examining the Quality, Market Value, and Effectiveness of Manufacturing Credentials in the United States” is available for free download at https://tinyurl.com/ydg94o9x. In it, Workcred illustrates the complex, intertwined relationship between government, certification bodies, educators, professional and trade associations, and employers. To help manufacturers better understand and navigate the credentialing system, it describes various types – certificates, certifications, degrees, and licenses – with examples, requirements, and standards for each.

Workcred advocates that U.S. manufacturers should increase the quality of credentials to improve the effectiveness, efficiency, and performance of the labor market and improve workforce quality. It offers recommendations for manufacturers, credentialing organizations, educators, accreditors, and policymakers to:

  • Improve understanding about credentials’ content, use, and value
  • Expand credentials’ quality standards use
  • Strengthen relationships between employers, education, training providers, credentialing organizations
  • Add employability skills component to existing/new credentials
  • Create credentials that emphasize performance, address new roles
  • Increase the number of apprentices, expand apprenticeships to more occupations

Have you found credentials confusing? Not aligned with your needs? Or worthwhile to hiring and rewarding employees? Please let us know. – Eric