New Jersey Releases List of Industry-Valued Credentials

Jenna Leventoff
October 24, 2016

As a growing number of jobs require postsecondary credentials, a number of states have begun to experiment with ways to identify credentials of value to employers. One such state is New Jersey, who, this week, released a list of approximately 120 industry-valued credentials.

This list is intended to further the state’s goal of increasing the number of residents with a postsecondary credential or degree by guiding the state’s investments towards effective job training programs that are aligned with industry demand. By FY 2021, New Jersey hopes to dedicate at least 80% of state funding to programs resulting in industry-valued credentials. The list is also intended to help students and job-seekers decide if a program is worth their while before investing their time and money.

In order to be included on the list, credentials must meet four criteria. They must: (1) be valued by employers; (2) teach transferable skills; (3) potentially lead to opportunities for continued education and training; and (4) lead to higher wages, career advancement, and/or increased job security.

In order to make this determination, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DOLWD) conducted research and sought input from a variety of stakeholders. First, analysts at DOLWD combed through labor market data to determine which credentials were the most in-demand by the state’s seven largest industries. Then, DOLWD reached out to employers that participated in the state’s talent networks, which are partnerships between employers in the state's key industries and education and workforce institutions. Using feedback from the talent network members, they created a preliminary list of industry-valued credentials. That list was further tailored to employer preferences through a statewide online survey of employers and an open comments period. Finally, the state’s legislatively mandated Credential Review Board, composed of representatives of entities including the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the Higher Education Commission, and a Workforce Investment Board director, approved the list. The DOLWD will publish an updated list every quarter moving forward, based on a similar process.

WDQC is pleased to see states experimenting with ways to identify valuable credentials so that students can make informed decisions about their education, and governments can direct funding to successful programs. To see which other states have created a process for industry to validate awarded credentials, please see the 2015 Mastering the Blueprint Report