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The Workforce Credentials Coalition, a newly formed body of 20 states, just held its first meeting at the New America Foundation on April 7. The group, led by teams in California and North Carolina, hopes to develop a framework of joint standards around data sharing between industry and professional certifying bodies.

Leading the charge is the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO) and the North Carolina Community Colleges. As certifications and credentials become increasingly important to businesses around the country, there becomes a need for community colleges to align programs with industry standards, as well as track those students who are seeking certifications.

According to a report by the Workforce Data Quality Campaign, the coalition outlines three major reasons why they are seeking data sharing agreements: performance-based funding, alignment with local needs and federal grants.

As many states fund colleges through tax revenue, lawmakers are looking at performance-based models. The hope is to incorporate credential attainment as a performance metric. To better teach the skills required by local industries, colleges will use the data to align themselves more clearly to assess and ensure that students are attaining critical skills. To continue receiving federal grants, the U.S. Department of Labor now requires colleges who have been awarded Trade Assistance Act Community College Career Training Grants (TAACCCT) to track participants and report on credential attainment.

To see a full list of participating states, click here.

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