Employer-led credentials programs: New tool makes data easily accessible
Texas is estimated to have over 24,000 different credentials, a term that refers to an evolving array of degrees, workforce-aligned certifications, licenses, badges and apprenticeships, available in the state. New employer-led credentials programs continue to grow that estimate and hold the promise to play a vital role in training the workforce of the future.
Why is it needed?
Texas students, parents, employers and policymakers need a transparent way to learn about, view and compare new credentials being offered online and across the state.
Recognizing that need, Texas 2036 is engaged in gathering and improving public access to data about credentials offered by private entities and employers in Texas. These credentials are often issued by employers themselves seeking to improve the skill sets of potential employees in order to meet the demands of the workforce of today and tomorrow.
This work has the added purpose of serving as proof of concept that industry is a ready and willing partner in getting credentials data to Texans.
A brief history of the initiative
As established in HB 3767 in 2021, our state education and workforce agencies are building a credential library that includes data about the credentials being offered by public state institutions or education and training programs. Texas 2036’s project serves a complementary role by compiling information about in-demand credentials offered by private issuers and is the first of its kind in Texas for private credentials.
Central to this has been outreach to employers — like Google, Dell, Microsoft and Amazon Web Services — and ongoing discussions with them about the value in sharing data about their credentials publicly.
Texas 2036 partnered with national nonprofit Credential Engine to support this effort. Along with their expertise in credentials and credential data transparency, Credential Engine provided direct access to their Credential Registry, which houses credential data from multiple sources nationwide for public access.
How was this done?
Texas 2036 worked with Credential Engine to review which credentials are available in the state’s data and to identify gaps in that data. This analysis is also informing our work formulating best practices on credential transparency.
One important finding has emerged from this research: Texas does not yet have clear and comprehensive data about privately-issued credentials, including data from out-of-state providers.
Thankfully, solutions are already underway to fill data gaps.