State System to Create User-friendly Credential Registry to Strengthen Workforce, Ease Labor Shortages

Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) is creating the commonwealth’s first credential registry. The project is funded by the state Department of Labor & Industry and American Rescue Plan funds appropriated to PASSHE.
The user-friendly online tool will help students and workers to navigate the maze of education and professional credentials, enabling people to make informed decisions about their opportunities.
The public will be able to use the credential registry to learn which credentials exist, where to get them and in what order, and which skills employers want for jobs in high demand. The registry also will explain which credentials are “stackable,” or sequenced, possibly leading to a bachelor’s degree and beyond.
“The State System is redesigning itself to meet the needs of today’s learners and provide a pipeline of talented people that employers desperately want, and the credential registry is one important part of that process,” said Dan Greenstein, PASSHE chancellor. “Credentials add value to your resume by demonstrating to employers that you have the education and latest skills to do the job. Students and job seekers will be able to use the credential registry to understand the pathways to earn credentials that open doors to new and higher-paying jobs.”
The State System is creating the online credential registry in partnership with the non-profit Credential Engine.
“Pennsylvania’s design for this work is exemplary,” said Scott Cheney, CEO of Credential Engine. “Focusing on quality, stackability and pathways will help students and workers be better able to navigate their way through all types and levels of credentials to the skills needed by employers. Having all that information in an open credential registry is an important first step.”
A credential registry will be an important tool to address the labor shortage. Today, 60% of jobs in Pennsylvania require some higher education after high school, but only 51% of the workforce has it. Enabling more Pennsylvanians to understand the process and earn credentials is another step toward closing the talent gap.
Credentials such as badges, certificates, licenses, apprenticeships and industry certifications can be earned as part of a growing number of two-year or four-year State System academic programs.
Learners can earn credentials at the pace that is best for them. Learners in short-term programs can enter higher education, earn a credential—often while working—then continue toward the next credential or exit higher education for the workforce. Learners can return to a program to earn more advanced–stackable–credentials to build more skills that advance their career or potentially earn a higher income.
As part of the effort to create a stronger workforce, the State System is expanding credentialing within many academic courses so students can earn credentials on the way to their degree. Working adults may receive the largest benefit from the online registry—particularly those with some college and no credential, or those working in entry-level positions who need to upskill or reskill to keep up with technology and automation.
Employers will benefit from a Pennsylvania-specific registry that will enable them to identify the credentials that are most relevant to their open positions, allowing more precise hiring of the talent they need.
The State System’s credential registry will initially include in-demand programs such as business, computer science, education, engineering, nursing, and social services. The first phase of the credential registry is anticipated to be ready in 2024.