Reformer ToolboxLogin

CancelLost your password?

Credentials Matter for Today’s Students

• Patricia Levesque

In 2019, ExcelinEd and Burning Glass Technologies launched Credentials Matter. This first-of-its-kind research and accompanying interactive website explored the industry-recognized credentials students earn, the credentials demanded by employers, and the impact of credential attainment on long-term student outcomes.

Now we are releasing Credentials Matter Phase 2. For this latest phase, we have redesigned and expanded as well as published two new reports, including a case study on the short-term ramifications of COVID-19 on credential demand. Together, these tools and resources offer a timely analysis of credential demand and attainment data from across the nation.

Phase 2

Credential Matter Phase 2: A 2020 Update explores the credentials earned by both K-12 and—for the first time—postsecondary students. The report examines whether those credentials are, or are not, aligned with employers’ demand. Key findings of the Phase 2 report include:

  • Just over half of all states (30) collect K-12 quantitative data on the attainment of credentials.
  • Most postsecondary systems are not currently collecting or aggregating credential attainment data. Only 4 states submitted postsecondary data on credential attainment.
  • No state that submitted data is highly aligned in terms of supply for credentials earned by students and the demand for those credentials in the job market.

COVID-19 Case Study

Credentials Matter: COVID-19 Case Study examines short-term changes in credential demand based on the economic ramifications of COVID-19. The report also analyzes key occupational factors that may continue to affect credential demand in potential future waves of the pandemic as well as throughout economic recovery. Key findings of the case study include:

  • Between a comparable time period from March through May 2020, there was a 41% decline in overall weekly job postings in the United States compared to a 29% increase in 2019.
  • The pandemic-related decline in demand was not uniform; some career clusters and occupations provided relatively more stable employment prospects than others. Even within career clusters, declines in demand varied widely across states.


About Credentials Matter

Credentials Matter is an ongoing research partnership between ExcelinEd and Burning Glass Technologies designed to shed light on the landscape of industry credential data collection and alignment across the country. The project provides insight into how industry credentials earned by students align with workforce demand in each state to inform education system improvements and state data collection practices. Visit to explore interactive maps and data tables and learn more about this research.

Credentials Matter was made possible through the support of Carnegie Corporation of New York. The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of the authors.

About the author

Patricia Levesque @levesquepat

Patricia is the Chief Executive Officer for the Foundation for Excellence in Education. She served as Governor Jeb Bush’s deputy chief of staff for education, enterprise solutions for government, minority procurement, and business and professional regulation. Previously, Patricia served six years in the Florida Legislature in the Speakers Office and as staff director over education policy. Contact Patricia at