Which credentials do employers use as a hiring preference based on responses to the 2023 NC Workforce Credentials Employer Survey?

Project started: February 1, 2024
Department or Agency: NC Department of Commerce

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Topics
CredentialsEconomic DevelopmentIndustry-valued CredentialsPostsecondary EducationTalent PipelineWorkforce DevelopmentWorkforce Needs

Project Overview

Summary

This project has three primary research questions:

  1. What process and criteria should the NC Workforce Credentials Advisory Council use to analyze results from the NC Workforce Credentials Employer Survey to identify credentials of value to employers in a consistent manner year-to-year?
  2. Which credentials do employers use as a hiring preference based on responses to the 2023 NC Workforce Credentials Employer Survey?
  3. What changes, if any, should the NC Workforce Credentials Advisory Council make to the NC Workforce Credentials Employer Survey and administration process in future years to improve identification of credentials that employers use as a hiring preference?

In 2019, North Carolina adopted a statewide postsecondary attainment goal of ensuring that 2 million North Carolinians ages 25-44 have a high-quality credential or a postsecondary degree by 2030. The NC Community College System, NC Department of Public Instruction, NC Department of Commerce, Office of the Governor, NC Association of Workforce Development Boards, and myFutureNC formed the NC Workforce Credentials Advisory Council (“the Council”) to identify and measure the attainment of high-quality industry-recognized credentials earned by North Carolinians.

The Council developed a credential submission process to identify industry-valued, non-degree credentials that help North Carolinians obtain in-demand jobs with family sustaining wages. North Carolina Community colleges, 4-year colleges and universities, Workforce Development Boards, K-12 Career and Technical Education Directors, and Multi-Employer Industry Partnerships are all eligible to submit requests for credentials to add to the approved list.

The NC Workforce Credential submission process includes collecting information about the credential and the job(s) to which it leads. The process also includes hearing from companies that they value the credential for their entry-level job candidates through letters from employers or trade/industry associations. The Council reassesses NC Workforce Credentials biennially to ensure the credentials listed continue to meet the criteria. The Council uses employer feedback to confirm industry value.

The Council initially used focus groups with employers in North Carolina to develop the initial list of credentials valued by employers (released in 2021). In 2023, the Council administered a statewide survey to employers, receiving more than 2,900 individual responses.

NC Workforce Credential partner agencies and organizations and the NC Office of Strategic Partnerships (OSP) are partnering to develop a process and criteria to analyze the results from the 2023 NC Workforce Credentials Employer Survey to identify credentials of value to employers that is consistent and reproducible year-to-year. Through the development of this process and criteria, the project team will identify credentials that employers use as a hiring preference.

Anticipated deliverables

This project will include several deliverables:

  1. Development of analytical processes and criteria to identify credentials valued by employers in North Carolina from the NC Workforce Credentials Employer Survey that the Council can use year-to-year.
  2. Identification of high-demand and employer-valued non-degree credentials from the 2023 NC Workforce Credentials Employer Survey that put learners on a pathway to sustaining wage jobs.
  3. Recommendations on changes to the NC Workforce Credentials Employer Survey and the administration process to improve the Council’s understanding of credentials that employers use as a hiring preference.

Planned use of results

Project deliverables will provide NC Workforce Credentials partner agencies and organizations with a sound and reproducible analytical approach to determining credentials of value in North Carolina. The Council will incorporate the recommendations for modifications to the NC Workforce Credentials Survey into future surveys.

Identifying employer-valued non-degree credentials from the employer survey is one component of the biennial credentials re-vetting process that determines which credentials will remain on the NC Workforce Credentials List. The Council also uses the NC Department of Commerce’s Star Rating System for occupational wages and demand based on the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code related to a credential to determine if it is industry-valued. Project learnings will also assist the Council in determining industry-valued credentials at a statewide and regional level.

Data

NC Workforce Credentials partner agencies and organizations will use the responses to the 2023 NC Workforce Credentials Employer Survey for this project. The Council may also use additional labor market information on industry and occupational projections, degree requirements, and additional employer feedback to contextualize and validate survey results.

The project is in progress.

We plan to post results and deliverables when the project is complete. In the meantime, we welcome questions about the project.

Project point of contact

Allison Stersic

Performance Analyst

NC Department of Commerce

Allison.Stersic@commerce.nc.gov


Project Team

NC Department of Commerce

NC Office of Strategic Partnerships

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