Competency-Based CredentialsCase Studies

Competency-Based Credentials Case StudiesBAcknowledgmentsThis report is part of a multi-year commitment by Corporation for a SkilledWorkforce to advance the use of quality competency-based credentials in theUnited States. The research, convening, and writing for this report was madepossible by a grant from the Surdna Foundation. We’re grateful for their support of this work.The CSW team that developed the report includes: Nancy Laprade, who served as the lead researcher and writer; Dr. Keith Bird, Senior Policy Fellow for Workforce and PostsecondaryEducation; Larry Good, Chair, Co-Founder & Senior Policy Fellow; Jeannine La Prad, President & CEO; Taryn MacFarlane, Vice President, Business & Community Innovation; and Chelsea Farley, consulting writer and editor.We are indebted to a number of our partners who contributed substantial timein helping develop the case studies outlined in this report. In particular, wethank the following colleagues whose efforts greatly improved this product: Ann Randazzo, Executive Director, Center for Energy WorkforceDevelopment Jennifer McNelly, President, Manufacturing Institute (MI); EmilyDeRocco, former President of the MI; Audrey Theis, consultant to MI; andBrent Weil, Senior Vice President for Education & Workforce of the MI Annette Parker, former Director of Automotive Manufacturing TechnicalEducation Collaborative (AMTEC); Danine Alderete-Tomlin, AMTECExecutive Director; and Craig Hopkins, AMTEC Project Manager Jane M. Weissman, President/Chief Executive Officer, InterstateRenewable Energy Council Barbara Hins-Turner, Director, Pacific Northwest Center of Excellence forClean Energy; Dr. Alan Hardcastle, Washington State University EnergyProgram; and Troy Nutter, Puget Sound Energy Martin Stöckmann, Head of Siemens Professional Education, Berlin;Nakisha Evans, formerly of Siemens Professional EducationCorporation for a Skilled Workforce is a national nonprofit organization that partnerswith government, business, and community leaders to develop good jobs and theskilled workers to fill them.

Competency-Based Credentials Case Studies1IntroductionTraditionally, employers, workers and students have used academic degreesand diplomas as a proxy for the skills and knowledge needed to perform onthe job. There is growing interest in the use of competency-based credentialsto complement this approach. High-quality, employer-backed, competencybased credentials can provide more precise information about job requirements and workers’ proficiencies, offering benefits to: Employers, who can use credentials to inform hiring, deployment andpromotion decisions and to ensure that relevant educational programsaddress their needs; Students and workers, who will have the ability to better navigate careerpathways and transitions and who can offer competency-based credentialsas proof of their skills and knowledge; Educators, who will be able to better align their curricula with industryrequirements and can then cite employer-validated credentials asevidence that they prepare students for in-demand jobs; and Public policymakers, who can foster more agile, thriving labor marketsby supporting the development and attainment of competency-basedcredentials.Unfortunately, the current “market” for competency-based credentials isneither fully formed nor well functioning. In response, the Corporation for aSkilled Workforce (CSW) has embarked on a multi-year initiative to increasethe quality and use of competency-based credentials. To lay a foundationfor this work, we gathered information about a cross section of promisingcredentialing efforts. The case studies that appear in the following pagesprovide a glimpse of the variety of approaches being undertaken in different industries—by an array of different stakeholders— both in the U.S.and internationally. Interestingly, in spite of their diversity, these examplespoint to several common factors that appear to be critical to the success ofcompetency-based credentials, including:1. The involvement of employers at every stage of the credential’sdevelopment;2. A formal structured process, such as a Job/Task Analysis, to identify coreknowledge areas, work functions, and skills; and3. The creation of well-thought-out career pathways, as well as tiered/stackable credentials that allow students and workers to flexibly navigatethese pathways.

Competency-Based Credentials Case Studies2Our companion paper, Making a Market for Competency-Based Credentials,explores these factors in more depth. It describes the current state of play incompetency-based credentialing, outlines components of a quality credentialing process, and explores how the market for these credentials could benurtured and brought to scale—by engaging businesses, workers and educational institutions more effectively.The Case Studies US Department of Labor Competency Model Clearinghouse Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD) Get Into Energy CareerPathways Model The Manufacturing Institute’s Manufacturing Skills Certification System Automotive Manufacturing Technical Education Collaborative (AMTEC) Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) Pacific Northwest Center of Excellence for Clean Energy (PNCECE) Siemens Mechatronic Systems CertificationOur case studies represent a more in-depth look at these efforts. Sincemany of them are still developing, there is a great deal more informationabout each one that could be useful for understanding and advancing thefield of competency-based credentials. For example, we do not report onthe costs of developing the credentials or the economic rewards of usingthem. Dedicated research to establish the return-on-investment for differentcompetency-based credentials is an important next step for the field—asis the creation of some kind of national infrastructure to promote qualitycredentialing processes, common definitions of key terms and coordinationamong existing efforts. See our report, Making a Market for CompetencyBased Credentials, for more on these and other recommendations.

Competency-Based Credentials Case Studies3US Department of Labor Competency Model ClearinghouseCompetency models identify the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary for success in a given occupation or industry, providingan essential foundation for a variety of credentials. The US Department of Labor (DOL) offers resources designed to help industrystakeholders develop such models and credentials, primarily through its Competency Model Clearinghouse.The Clearinghouse provides access to validated competency models for 20 different industries, as well as tools that can be usedto create competency models and career ladders for industries where they haven’t yet been established. Two of the case studiesincluded in this document, CEWD’s Get Into Energy model and the NAM Skills Certification System, use the DOL competencymodel framework.The DOL competency model is arranged into nine tiers, with each tier containing a set of related competencies. The tiers are displayed in a pyramidal shape, which represents increasing specificity and specialization of content—as a user moves up through thevarious tiers, the competencies become specific to certain industries and/or occupations.The nine tiers are grouped into three categories. Occupation-Related Competencies›› Tier 9 – Management competenciesBasic Competency Models›› Tier 8 – Occupation-specific requirements›› Tier 7 – Occupation-specific technical competencies›› Tier 6 – Occupation-specific knowledge competencies Industry-Related Competencies›› Tier 5 – Industry-sector technical competencies›› Tier 4 – Industry-wide technical competencies Foundational Competencies›› Tier 3 – Workplace competencies›› Tier 2 – Academic competencies›› Tier 1 – Personal effectiveness competenciesFor each industry, subject matter experts have worked togetherto develop foundational (tiers 1 - 3), industry-wide (tier 4),and in some cases, industry-sector (tier 5) competencies. Theindustry models are listed as either “approved” (meaning theyhave been verified by appropriate subject matter experts) or“draft” (currently under review by subject matter experts).Source: USDOL Competency Model ncyModel/.Visitors to the Clearinghouse can use one of these availablemodels and customize them as needed. If no pre-existingindustry model exists, they can use a generic “building blocks”model designed to apply to all occupations, regardless of industry. Once a model is selected, the user customizes the model, tier by tier, with the options to: Select key behaviors listed under each competency to include in the model, Include all competencies and key behaviors by checking the appropriate box, Add more key behaviors to existing competencies, Edit existing key behaviors on some competencies, and Add new competencies and associated key behaviors.The end result is a model that captures the key competencies for a given industry or occupation.US DOL recommends the following steps for using its framework to develop a competency model for a given industry:1.Analyze and synthesize existing national and state resources, skills standards, technical curriculum, and certifications in theindustry sector. This step is best accomplished using industry or subject matter experts who familiar with the terminology,processes, and skills required in the industry.

Competency-Based Credentials Case StudiesBuilding Blocks for Competency ModelsManagementCompetenciesThe Clearinghouse contains competencymodels for the following InformingDelegatingNetworkingMonitoring WorkEntrepreneurshipSupporting OthersMotivating & InspiringDeveloping & MentoringStrategic Planning/ActionPreparing & Evaluating BudgetsClarifying Roles & ObjectivesManaging Conflict & Team BuildingDeveloping an Organizational VisionMonitoring & Controlling ResourcesIndustry-Sector Technical CompetenciesCompetencies to be specified by industry sector representativesIndustry-Wide Technical CompetenciesCompetencies to be specified by industry representativesWorkplace CompetenciesTeamwork Adaptability/ Customer Planning Creative ProblemFlexibilityFocus&Thinking Solving &OrganizingDecisionMakingBusinessWorkingWorkplace Scheduling Checking,withComputer&Examining, FundaTools &Applications Coordinating & Recording mentalsTechnologyAcademic CompetenciesReadingWritingMathematicsScience &TechnologyCommunication –Listening &SpeakingCritical Personal Effectiveness alismInitiative4Dependability& ReliabilityWillingnessTo Learn Advanced tion - CommercialConstruction - HeavyConstruction - ResidentialEnergyEntrepreneurshipFinancial ServicesGeospatial TechnologyHealth: Allied HealthHealth: Electronic Health RecordsHospitality/Hotel and LodgingInformation TechnologyLong-term Care, Supports, and ServicesMechatronicsRetailTransportationWater SectorSource: USDOL Competency Model Clearinghouse, tency-models/building-blocks-model.aspx.The process of gathering information involves:›› Defining the industry,›› Identifying the key occupations in the industry,›› Analyzing required knowledge, skills, and abilities to determine commonalities across the key occupations,›› Identifying and cataloging existing resources, and›› Aligning the knowledge, skills and abilities defined in the resources to the building blocks framework.2.Put this information into the DOL competency model framework.3.Obtain feedback about the draft competency model from subject matter experts and target users. Request input about:›› The competency names, definitions, and (as relevant) the specific behaviors used to describe each competency. Discusshow this material should be edited to ensure that it accurately captures the essence of the competency in language thatwill “ring true” to users.›› Whether any of the competencies in the draft model should be deleted because they are not relevant to, or important to,the target occupation(s), organization, or industry.›› Whether any competencies should be added. If so, work with the group to derive definitions and behaviors describing thosecompetencies.4.Refine the model based on this feedback.5.Validate the competency model by distributing it widely to industry representatives and educational partners to encouragefeedback and ultimate adoption.6.Share the competency model with relevant stakeholders for daily use.7.Use the model to align course content and credentials with industry requirements. (For educational institutions).Source: USDOL USDOL Competency Model Clearinghouse,

Competency-Based Credentials Case Studies5The Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD)Get Into Energy Career Pathways ModelOrganizing body: The Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD) is a nonprofit consortium of electric, natural gas andnuclear utilities and their associations, which was formed in 2006 to help address anticipated workforce shortages and build askilled workforce pipeline that will meet future industry needs. See for more information.Industry: EnergyGeographic focus: NationalPartners: CEWD’s Get Into Energy Career Pathways model has been developed with input from a wide variety of organizations, including: American Association of Community Colleges American Council on Education American Gas Association American National Standards Institute Association of Career & Technical Education Council on Adult & Experiential Learning Edison Electric Institute National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Nuclear Energy Institute U.S. Department of Education U.S. Department of LaborApproach: The Get Into Energy Career Pathways Model provides a roadmap for entry into skilled, utility technician positions in theenergy industry, with pathways to higher-level jobs in a variety of work settings. CEWD and US DOL partnered to create the following Energy Industry Competency Model, which captures requirements for success at various levels in the industry.Energy Industry Competency ModelTier 6-8 – ngineeringTechnicianRelayTechnicianNatural anicalTechnicianInstrument& ControlTechnicianAlternateFuelTechniciansTier 5 – Industry-Specific Technical CompetenciesNon-Nuclear Generation(Coal, Natural Gas, Oil, Hydro,Solar, Wind, BioFuel, Geothermal)Nuclear GenerationElectricTransmission &DistributionGas Transmission& DistributionTier 4 – Industry-Wide Technical CompetenciesSafety AwarenessIndustry Principles& ConceptsEnvironmentalLaws &RegulationsQuality Control &ContinuousImprovementTroubleshootingTier 3 – Workplace irectionsPlanning,Problem SolvingOrganizing &Decision MakingSchedulingEmployability & Working with BasicEntrepreneurshipHand & Power ToolsSkills& TechnologyEthicsTier 2 – Academic CompetenciesMathematicsLocating,Reading & g &TechnologyCritical r 1 – Personal nalism ReputationMotivationDependability& ReliabilitySelfDevelopmentSource: Center for Energy Workforce Development, &AdaptabilityAbility ToLearn

Competency-Based Credentials Case Studies6Based on these competencies, CEWD identified several stackable educational interventions:1.Basic training: Corresponding to tiers 1 - 3 in the model, basic training focuses on improving work readiness and employabilityskills. The majority of these knowledge and skill sets are addressed in ACT’s WorkKeys assessments, including the NationalCareer Readiness Certificate (NCRC) Plus, Business Writing and Applied Technology.2.Energy industry fundamentals training: Corresponding to tiers 4 and 5, this training leads to a credential CEWD has developedan Energy Industry Fundamentals certificate, which is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Theprogram is offered by “Approved Course Providers” around the country (i.e., educational institutions that have been approvedby CEWD by providing evidence that are adhering to the ANSI requirements), ensuring that a student who receives thecertificate in one state will have achieved the same learning objectives as a student in another state.3.Job-specific training. Corresponding to tiers 6 - 8, this training includes specific programs for lineworkers, pipefitters/pipelayers/welders, technicians, or plant operators.The following figure displays credentials used for each tier.Tiers and Stackable CredentialsEnergy CompetencyTier  6–8  Job  Specific  Skills/Creden-als AssociateDegree BootCamp/ApprenDceshipforCollegeCredit AcceleratedAssociateDegree7OccupaDon- ‐SpecificTechnicalTier  4–5  Industry  Fundamentals EnergyIndustryFundamentalsCerDficateTier  1–3  Basic  Training EnergyIndustryEmployabilitySkillsCerDficate NaDonalCareerReadinessCerDficate8OccupaDon- ‐SpecificRequirements654321OccupaDon- ‐SpecificKnowledgeAreasIndustry- ‐SpecificTechnicalIndustry- Source: Center for Energy Workforce Development, CEWD and Get into Energy website:; ; Ann Randazzo, Executive Director of CEWD

Competency-Based Credentials Case Studies7The Manufacturing Institute’s Manufacturing Skills Certification SystemOrganizing body: The Manufacturing Institute is the authority on the attraction, qualification, and development of world-classmanufacturing talent in the United States. The Institute is a 501(c)3 affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM),the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing manufacturers of various sizes and industrial sectors fromall 50 states. For more information, go to : ManufacturingGeographic focus: NationalPartners: Employers (i.e., NAM members) serve as the driving force behind the organization’s credentialing efforts. They arechampions for aligning training programs with industry needs and help promote the use of new credentials among their peers.Postsecondary educational institutions head up efforts to analyze existing curriculum against industry needs and certificationrequirements. More than 60 schools currently offer NAM-Endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certifications as a standard part of theirmanufacturing education programs.Approach: In partnership with the USDOL and several other industry associations, the Institute developed the AdvancedManufacturing Competency Model, which defines the skills, knowledge, and abilities essential for successful performance inmanufacturing occupations. The model consists of nine tiers, grouped into foundational employment competencies (tiers 1 - 3),entry-level manufacturing competencies (tiers 5 and 6), and competencies for specific manufacturing occupations (tiers 7 - 9).The Institute and its partners then set out to create a system of certificates and credentials that aligned with these competencies. They spent a year vetting 440 existing credentials, using criteria that included national portability, satisfaction of AmericanNational Standards Institute quality standards, third-party validation, and alignment with the Competency Model. Based on thiswork, the partners decided it would be better not to establish new certificates, but instead to endorse a select set of existing certificates that best aligned with the Advanced Manufacturing Competency Model—and then create a stackable credentials systemusing these certifications.Advanced Manufacturing Competency irementsIndustry-Sector Technical CompetenciesIndustry-Wide Technical CompetenciesManufacturingProcess Design& DevelopmentProductionMaintenance,Installation& RepairSupply ntSustainable& GreenManufacturingHealth,Safety,Security &EnvironmentWorkplace ty/FlexibilityMarketing& CustomerFocusPlanning &OrganizingProblemSolving &DecisionMakingWorkingwith Tools &TechnologyChecking,Examining& RecordingCommunication –Listening &SpeakingCritical &AnalyticThinkingSustainablePracticesAcademic eadingWritingInformationLiteracyPersonal Effectiveness alismInitiativeDependability& ReliabilityLifelong LearningSource: USDOL Competency Model Clearinghouse, tency-models/advanced-manufacturing.aspx.

Competency-Based Credentials Case Studies8The figure below shows a sample of NAM-Endorsed Certifications (in the middle), with aligned educational pathways (on the left)and typical occupational/career pathways (on the right).Manufacturing Certification PathwaysEducation PathwayEngineeringDegreeCertification PathwayProfessionalEngineering: Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME)Career PathwayEngineerOccupation-RelatedTransportation, Distribution and Logistics:Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC)American Society of Transportation and Logistics (ASTL)Association for Operations Management (APICS)Automation: International Society of Automation (ISA)Die Casting: North American Die Casting AssociationFluid Power: International Fluid Power Society (IFPS)Mechatronics: Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute (PMMI)Quality: American Society for Quality (ASQ)Lean: Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME)Construction: National Center for ConstructionEducation & Research (NCCER)Fabrication: Fabricators & Manufacturers Association (FMA)Machining and Metalworking: National Institute of MetalworkingSkills (NIMS)Welding: American Welding Society (AWS)Core TechnicalSafety, Quality Practices and Measurement, Manufacturing Processand Maintenance AwarenessManufacturing Skills Standard Council (MSSC)Certified Production Technician (CPT)High SchoolDiplomaFoundationalApplied Reading — Applied Math — Locating InformationACT National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC)Helper/OperatorSource: The Manufacturing Institute, ons.aspx.NAM’s system uses ACT’s National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) to verify the achievement of the core academic andworkplace competencies shown in the first three tiers. These include applied math, locating information and reading for information for the NCRC; and expand to include the soft skills of work discipline, teamwork, customer service orientation, and managerialpotential for the NCRC Plus.A range of certifications are used for the competencies shown in tiers 5 and 6. Entry-level manufacturing jobs require competencies in health and safety, quality assurance and continual improvement, manufacturing processes, development and design,production and supply chain logistics. These are embedded in a variety of entry-level certifications, such as:›› The Manufacturing Skills Standards Council’s Certified Production Technician (CPT) for entry-level production workers;›› The National Institute for Metal Working Skills’ machining credentials for entry-level metal-working; and›› The American Welding Society’s Certified Welder credentials for entry-level welders.There are currently over 36 states using the Skills Certification System at varying levels, either through philanthropic supported initiatives or grassroots efforts. Their experience suggests the following step-by-step approach to establishing a certification programthat aligns with the system:1.Research and planning – grounding efforts in real, local labor market demands.›› Use state and regional economic data to focus efforts.›› Conduct an asset mapping of the programs, resources, and organizations that may support the establishment of skillcertification pathways.›› Determine advanced manufacturing career pathways in targeted areas.›› Develop a timeline that reflects major milestones for action.2.Design and development – engaging employers and postsecondary stakeholders.›› Find the right faculty and college leadership.

Competency-Based Credentials Case Studies›› Objectively analyze existingcurriculum against the needs ofregional manufacturers and therequirements of targeted industrycertifications.›› Work with employers who see thevalue of the certification modelto build additional employerdemand, while producing a supplyof certified workers.3.Implementation – aligning existingcurricula with certificationrequirements.›› Crosswalk existing curriculumto the NAM-endorsed industrycertifications and develop newinstructional modules to fill incurricular gaps.›› Identify the critical applied math,science and technology (STEM)skills imbedded in certificationrequirements and build thoseskills into all career technicalcurricula.›› Assess faculty capacity aroundthe certification requirementsin their content area and, ifneeded, implement professionaldevelopment that may includetraining by certification sponsors.›› Establish relationships withthe credentialing organizationsto ensure endorsement andrecognition of the program.Promoting the Use of Competency-Based CredentialsInterview with Jennifer McNelly, President, Manufacturing Institute, National Associationof ManufacturersWhat has been your approach to promoting and building out your credentialing system?A few years back, we attempted to track and document the value proposition of industrycredentials/ certifications, and we were unsuccessful because the data did not exist. Ourcurrent approach at the Manufacturing Institute is a “market push” to increase the supplyof credentialed workers. Often employers respond to our question about whether they seethe value in credentials with “I never knew the credentials existed.” Instead of continuingto try to document demand and ROI, we decided to focus on building the supply of credentialed workers and educating employers on their value. For example, IT credentials havebeen one of the most successful credentialing efforts, with a high take-up rate by industry.The IT credential providers did a strong market push early on, and now there is significantdemand for IT certificates. The ultimate demand by industry was a result of this strongmarket push of workers with IT credentials. So, we support setting a national goal aroundthe number of certificates that should be attained, as Lumina has done. This provides aconcrete goal for a market push approach. The Manufacturing Institute and its partners inthe NAM-Endorsed Skills Certification System have set a goal to issue 500,000 certifications by the end of 2016.What is needed to build out the Skills Certification System and better document return oninvestment (ROI)?Over time, we need longitudinal data systems to track the value of credentials, but wedon’t have that system now. We currently have no mechanism to link private and publicdata systems, but we continue to move forward. A major goal for us is to have a commontaxonomy—a common student identifier—that would link education records with wagerecords and employment outcomes. We can’t measure the quality and value of credentials/certificates without a common taxonomy and longitudinal data.Documenting ValueThe Manufacturing Institute has begun to document the value of credentials to employers,but much of the feedback remains anecdotal. For more information, see: Employer tool kitBenefits and resultsEmployer case studies›› Deploy an effective student recruitment strategy to generate interest in new certification pathways. Partner with otherprograms and organizations that work with people who may be interested in manufacturing careers.4.Measuring and sustaining progress - ensuring the continued success of the program.›› Identify key performance indicators to measure progress.›› Identify policy barriers that are impeding progress and develop an agenda for driving needed policy change. Leverage localsuccesses to promote regional/statewide change.›› Develop a comprehensive plan to sustain the certification effort beyond grant funding.Sources: Jennifer McNelly (interview), President of the Manufacturing Institute (MI); Emily DeRocco (interview), former Presidentof the MI; Audrey Theis (interview), consultant to MI; Brent Weil, Senior Vice President for Education & Workforce of the MI;Manufacturing Institute website:

Competency-Based Credentials Case Studies10The Automotive Manufacturing Technical Education Collaborative (AMTEC)Organizing body: The Automotive Manufacturing Technical Education Collaborative (AMTEC) is a multistate collaboration of community and technical colleges and industry partners who seek to better prepare highly skilled workers for advanced manufacturingand technology industries. Visit Us for more information.Industry: Automobile and advanced manufacturingGeographic focus: 13 states along the I-75 corridor (which runs north to south from Michigan to Florida).Partners: What started as a partnership between Toyota and the Kentucky Community & Technical College System began to expandin 2005 into a multi-state model with international reach. AMTEC now involves 37 community colleges and 25 auto manufacturingplants in 13 states. This collaboration transcends the mos

Competency-Based Credentials Case Studies 5 Energy Industry Competency Model The Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD) Get Into Energy Career Pathways Model Organizing body: The Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD) is a nonprofit consortium of electric, natural gas and nuclear utilities and their associations, which was formed in 2006 to help address anticipated workforce .