Category Archives: Data

The Role of Certifications and Licenses in State Post-Secondary Attainment Goals


The above map shows state post-secondary attainment goals. Scroll over a state to see more information on its attainment goals.


This article is part of a series of reports on new estimates from the Labor Market Information Institute State Certification and Licenses Data Tables. Find previous blog posts in this series here.


Forty-two states have set goals for the attainment of post-secondary credentials, including degrees and certificates. This blogpost explores how these goals vary by state with special attention to whether and how states measure the attainment of professional credentials like certifications and licenses. [1]

Fifty States, Forty-Two Different Attainment Goals

State educational attainment goals are generally focused on increasing the overall level of education among state residents. States prioritize different types of credentials, including some and excluding others, and set goals for different sub-populations, focusing only on people in the workforce or setting specific goals for younger workers and new labor market entrants. States measure progress toward their goals in different ways as well, using different national and state databases to track educational attainment.

There are some similarities across states as well. Among the 42 states that have set goals, 31 measure attainment among the population ages 25 to 64, regardless of employment status.

Goals in three states measure the attainment of credentials only among the state’s workforce. Six states aim to increase the attainment of post-secondary credentials among their young adult population (ages 25-34). Minnesota and Washington set their attainment goals for working adults ages 25 to 44. Colorado and Pennsylvania aim to increase educational attainment among persons from traditionally underrepresented populations, reducing gaps in attainment among white and non-white populations.

Attainment goals also vary in their consideration of professional credentials. All 42 state attainment goals include the attainment of traditional degrees – including both associate’s and bachelor’s degrees. Six states only consider the attainment of degrees in their goal. Sixteen states additionally include certificates. The remaining 20 states track the attainment of any post-secondary credentials, including professional credentials like certifications and licenses and apprenticeship programs.

However, tracking the attainment of certificates and professional credentials can prove challenging for states.  Federal datasets that collect information on persons’ level of education typically only collect data on degree types, and do not collect data on certificates or professional credentials.  The next blogpost in this series will further explore available sources providing data on the attainment of professional credentials.

Measuring Attainment: Stories from Three States

Alabama, Iowa, and Washington all track the attainment of any post-secondary credential towards their higher education attainment goals. However, how these states track post-secondary credentials, and which post-secondary credentials each state tracks, varies.

Washington Student Achievement Council Educational Attainment Dashboard. Explore this dashboard at https://wsac.wa.gov/roadmap/attainment

The Washington Student Achievement Council set a 10-year goal in 2013 for 70% of Washington adults aged 25-44 to have a postsecondary credential by 2023.  Washington’s plan to increase educational attainment in the state specifically calls on increased attainment of “postsecondary certificate[s], apprenticeship[s], or degree[s].”[2]Washington Student Achievement Council Educational Attainment Dashboard

Washington tracks attainment of degrees using 1-year American Community Survey estimates[3], and estimates the attainment of high-value certificates using data annually produced by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and Workforce (CEW) on behalf of the Lumina Stronger Nation Report.[4] The CEW derives state level estimates for certificate attainment from U.S. Census and IPEDS data.

Iowa Laborshed Survey Analysis – Educational Attainment Dashboard. Explore this dashboard at https://www.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/laborshed-studies

In 2016, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad set a goal for 70% of Iowa’s workforce to have “education or training beyond high school…including postsecondary degrees, certificates, and other high-quality credentials” by 2025.[5]  Future Ready Iowa and Iowa Workforce Development track the attainment of postsecondary credentials using the state’s Laborshed Survey.[6]  In addition to degree attainment, Iowa counts the attainment of “some education beyond high school, no degree obtained,” “vocational training,” and “trade certification” towards its attainment goal.

Alabama Works! Success Plus Educational Attainment Dashboard. Explore more at https://alabamaworks.com/successplus/

Alabama Works! set a goal for 60% of the state’s working age population to hold “some type of certificate, credential or degree of value” by 2025 in response to an executive order from Governor Kay Ivey in 2017.  Alabama Works tracks the attainment of postsecondary credentials using data from the Current Population Survey.  In addition to degree attainment, the Current Population Survey additionally tracks the attainment of certifications and licenses, of which Alabama specifically tracks the attainment of certifications and licenses that are required for an individual’s job.

Read more about the data sources mentioned in this article in our February 2020 blog post on certifications and licenses.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Current Population Survey collects information on the prevalence of certifications and licenses in the United States, published annually. Using this data, the Labor Market Information (LMI) Institute produced state-level estimates on the prevalence of certifications and licenses, including tables comparing certification and licensure by educational attainment across occupations, age, race and ethnicity, and gender.


[1] All data on state attainment goals provided by the Lumina Foundation and aggregated by HCM Strategists, unless otherwise noted.  http://strongernation.luminafoundation.org/report/2019/media/Attainment_Goal_state%20rundown_021519.pdf

[2] https://wsac.wa.gov/the-2013-roadmap

[3] https://wsac.wa.gov/roadmap/attainment

[4] http://strongernation.luminafoundation.org/report/2019/#page/sources

[5] https://governor.iowa.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Executive%20Order%2088.pdf

[6] https://www.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/laborshed-studies

Trends in Certification and License Attainment and Earnings by Education Level


The above figure shows the attainment rate and difference in median weekly earnings between workers with and without a certification or license by education level.

This article is part of a series of reports on new estimates from the Labor Market Information Institute State Certification and Licenses Data Tables. Find previous blog posts in this series here.


The attainment of certifications and licenses, and their associated earnings, varies by education level. U.S. workers with a degree attain certifications and licenses at a higher rate than workers without a degree. However, workers with less than a degree had the largest and most consistent boost in earnings relative to their non-credentialed counterparts. Workers without a degree earned at least $95 more with a certification or license in every state.

Key Definitions and Methods

The attainment rate is the percentage of the population with a certification or license

To find the attainment rate for various sub-populations, we divide the number of people in the sub-population with a certification or license by the total number of people in the sub-population.

The difference in earnings is found by subtracting the earnings of people without a certification or license from the earnings of people with a certification or license

Attainment by Education Level

Thirty percent of full-time workers with a degree and 11 percent of full-time workers without a degree have a certification or license in the United States.

When examined by level of education, the attainment rate continues to vary by state. The percent of workers with a degree and a certification or license varies from 37.1% in Wyoming to 23.8% in the District of Columbia. The percent of workers without a degree and a certification or license varies from 16.4% in Alaska to 7.8% in South Carolina. Attainment rates of certifications and licenses are high in Wyoming and Alaska regardless of education level. 35.8% of Alaskans with a degree have a certification or license, the 4th highest rate among states for workers with a degree. 14.3% of Wyomingites without a degree have a certification or license, also the 4th highest among states for workers without a degree.


The above figure shows the attainment rate by education level. The attainment rate is the percentage of the population with a certification or license.

Earnings by Education Level

While we might expect the increase in earnings associated with the attainment of certifications or licenses to accelerate with higher levels of education, workers without a degree had the largest difference in earnings between workers with and without a certification or license. In fact, workers with a degree earned less with a certification or license than their non-credentialed counterparts in two states, Washington and Oklahoma.

Full-time workers with a degree had $1,229 in median weekly earnings with a certification or license, $68 more than similar workers without a certification or license.

Earnings for workers with a degree and a certification or license also vary by state. Workers with a degree in Mississippi had the lowest median weekly earnings with a certification or license of any state, $974, although these workers earned $85 more than similar, non-credentialed workers. In the District of Columbia, workers with a degree and a certification or license had $1,823 in median weekly earnings, the most of any state. These workers earned $294 more than similar workers without a certification or license. Workers with a degree and a certification or license also earned $200 more than their non-credentialed counterparts in Hawaii ($241), Nevada ($221), and New York ($209).

However, workers with a degree earned less with a certification or license than without in Washington and Oklahoma. Workers with a degree in Washington earned $1,379, or $7 less, with a certification or license, and workers with a degree in Oklahoma earned $1,024, or $12 less, with a certification or license, relative to workers without a certification or license in each respective state.


The above figure shows median weekly earnings with and without a certification or license by education level. Earnings without a certification or license are in orange, earnings with a certification or license are in blue.

While U.S. workers without a degree only had $796 in median weekly earnings with a certification or license, these earnings were $104 or 15% more than those of similar workers without a certification or license.

In contrast to workers with a degree, workers without a degree earned at least $95 more with a certification or license in every state. Workers without a degree in Colorado had $1,010 in median weekly earnings with a certification or license, $251 more than similar workers without a certification or license. Colorado workers without a degree had the largest difference in earnings between workers with and without a certification or license of any state. Workers without a degree also earned $200 more than their non-credentialed counterparts in Hawaii ($237), Alaska ($214), and Arizona ($203). Workers without a degree in Alaska had median weekly earnings of $1,022 with a certification or license, the most of any state.

Workers without a degree in Florida had the lowest median weekly earnings with a certification or license of any state, $740. These workers only earned $95 more than similar workers without a certification or license. Workers without a degree with a certification or license only earned less than $100 more than their non-credentialed counterparts in Arkansas ($98), Missouri ($97), Ohio ($96), Vermont ($95), Nebraska ($95), Florida ($95).


The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Current Population Survey collects information on the prevalence of certifications and licenses in the United States, published annually. Using this data, the Labor Market Information (LMI) Institute produced state-level estimates on the prevalence of certifications and licenses, including tables comparing certification and licensure by educational attainment across occupations, age, race and ethnicity, and gender.


 

Call for Proposals: 2020 C2ER Annual Conference and LMI Institute Forum

The Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) and the Labor Market Information (LMI) Institute are soliciting proposals for the next annual conference and forum, which will be June 3 – 5, 2020 in Columbus, OH. The theme is The Roaring 2020’s: Mobilizing Your Talent and Economy for the New Decade.

The upcoming conference and forum marks the 60th anniversary of the annual conference – to recognize this banner year and as we enter a new decade, we are interested in learning how researchers are moving local, regional, and state economies and their workforce forward.

To see specifics and submit your proposal – view the full RFP.

Professional Certifications and Licenses Increase Earnings and Reduce Unemployment, New Data Shows

Written by Anuradha Dhar

At the end of June, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) at the Department of Labor released a report on 2018 data from the Current Population Survey (CPS) on the role of professional certifications and occupational licenses in the U.S. labor market. Their most recent annual data was released in January 2019.

This data, produced since 2015, is the first to provide such comprehensive insights into the prevalence of certifications and licenses and related earnings. The Labor Market Information (LMI) Institute has been working with this data since 2015 to produce the State Certification and License Database, found here.

Certifications and licenses are credentials that demonstrate an individual’s competency related to a skill or knowledge used in performing specific jobs. Licenses are issued by a federal, state or local government agency; certifications are issued by nongovernmental certification bodies.

Continue reading

C2ER Recognizes Excellence in Economic Development Research Community, Economic and Workforce Development Applied Research Awards

On June 6, 2019, economic and workforce development professionals from across the U.S. and Puerto Rico assembled at The Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) annual conference in St. Louis, Missouri to recognize excellence in economic development research work done by their peers. Receiving awards were the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, Centers of Excellence for Labor Market Research (California), Georgia Power Company, Greater Houston Partnership, Greater Minneapolis -St. Paul Economic Development Partnership, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, Team Northeast Ohio.

The C2ER awards program recognizes the contribution of research activities to the success of local, regional, or state/provincial economic development initiatives. The purpose of the award is to increase the quality of economic development research by identifying meritorious projects and promoting the diffusion of creative ideas for research activities.

Projects could be submitted for evaluation in the following categories of research activity:

  • Projects that support business and workforce development activities
  • Data collection/dissemination efforts, including web-based systems
  • Policy Analysis supporting federal, state, or local initiatives
  • Project impact/program evaluation or assessment
  • Projects that support collaborative community/regional initiatives

The projects were judged on their contributions to the economic development research field, innovativeness in approach, implementation or collaborative efforts, responsiveness to customer needs, and benefits resulting from project implementation. The seven highest scored projects were chosen out of 16 submissions.

Research projects recognized for “Outstanding Achievement” include:

Allegheny Conference on Community Development

For Recognition for Projects Supporting Collaborative Community Initiatives

In 2018, the Allegheny Conference on Community Development (Conference) revised a decade long survey used to aggregate regional economic development projects won each year. A digital Business Investment Scorecard was developed that makes data and trends highly digestible, complemented by visuals and supporting quotes/testimonials from investors and other stakeholders. This initiative has resulted in a great opportunity for collaboration among regional economic development partners and an effective way to gather often difficult to find information in the region. It is simple to implement and manage making it easily adaptable for nearly any economic development organization.

Centers of Excellence for Labor Market Research (California)

For Project Impact/ Program Evaluation and Assessment

The Center of Excellence for Labor Market Research (COE) produced a report, focused on nine common and specialized cybersecurity work roles, to quantify employer demand and the supply of educational providers in California – Cybersecurity: Labor Market Analysis and Statewide Survey Results from California Employers and Postsecondary Institutions (Cybersecurity report). The COE conducted the first statewide, workforce demand-side primary research study tied to the NICE Cybersecurity Workforce framework. COE not only reviewed the demand for nine work roles but also created a series of questions about skills for traditional information communications technology (ICT) jobs. This report contributed to the development of California’s workforce by aligning the business and education communities to a common cybersecurity workforce development framework. As education and industries partner to align their strategies to address the workforce challenges outlined in the Cybersecurity report, employers will be able to tap the talent pipelines from California cybersecurity education providers to increasingly fill job vacancies with qualified candidates.

Georgia Power Company

For Projects Supporting Business Development Activities

Georgia Power is committed to the continuous improvement and investment in the state’s community and economic development. The newest way the company is doing this is through a comprehensive Competitive Market Assessment that allows users to analyze project activity in real-time across regions and states. In doing so, researchers can dissect each individual location announcement by key performance metrics such as jobs and capital investment. The analysis also builds upon a series of 15+ publications we produce annually that already evaluate the activity of key industries across Georgia compared to the nation. Using Conway Analytics and Georgia Power’s proprietary Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, the research team is uniquely and competitively positioned to support the economic development strategy and create targeted campaigns to reach key market segments — and investment — that are currently being lost to competitors.

 Greater Houston Partnership

Projects Supporting Business and Workforce Development Activities

 The Greater Houston Partnership developed a Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) workflow to objectively evaluate land and building sites for high-technology economic development Requests for Information (RFI), Site Suitability Analysis for High-Tech Projects. High-tech projects are highly desirable by region stakeholders, and regional economic development organizations (EDOs) and Chambers of Commerce (COC) are eager to submit sites within their respective territories. However, for many RFIs, only one regional RFI response is allowed, and it is therefore essential that all possible sites are narrowed to the best site(s) for the final RFI submission in a manner that is transparent and acceptable to all participating stakeholders. The project developed a new method to express and visually communicate workforce concentration and density across irregularly shaped block-groups. In this workflow, concentration was shown as ‘high-tech labor per square mile that is 10-times, 15-time, and 20-times the metro area average’. This expression allowed the client to understand density in the context of its relation to the Houston metro area.

Greater Minneapolis -St. Paul Economic Development Partnership

For Data Collection/ Dissemination Efforts

Originally created in 2015, the Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul’s Regional Indicators Dashboard (Dashboard) is a data dissemination and benchmarking tool designed to create a shared regional dashboard with metrics agreed upon by regional stakeholders to address shared priorities. The ultimate goal of the Dashboard is to be used to guide decision making in order to lead to collective action in the region. The local impact of the Dashboard in Greater MSP has been significant. Companies, nonprofits, foundations, chambers of commerce and other groups are putting the Dashboard to work in their organization to align goals and tackling issues that the Dashboard identified. The overall goal of the Dashboard was to create a set of shared, objective metrics to track the Greater MSP region’s overall movement on critical economic, environmental and social outcomes.

 Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development

For Policy Analysis Supporting Federal, State, or Local Initiatives

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is required to publish a compilation and summary of results to the Legislature on eligible business and financial assistance provided by state and local government agencies by December 2018 for the previous two calendar years (Minnesota Statute §116J.994, Subdivision 9). To fulfill that requirement DEED staff prepared updated calendar year CY 2016 and CY 2017 reports from August 1, 1999 through December 31, 2017 using Tableau visualization software, resulting in the 2018 Business Assistance Legislative Report. This allows the user is able to more easily drill down the data and improves public transparency.

Team Northeast Ohio

For Projects Supporting Collaborative Community Initiatives

In 2018, Team Northeast Ohio project on the commercialization of industrial internet of things technology is the accumulation of collaborative efforts between the Roadmap Project Team, Team NEO’s innovation and research team, and a Working Group of prominent end-user companies, key supply chain participants and leading academic institutions. The Smart Manufacturing – Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) Roadmap (IIoT Roadmap) is designed to help influence the future of manufacturing across Northeast Ohio in the digital age. The IIoT Roadmap translates economic impact studies of IIoT into an actionable tool based in research that local economic development practitioners can leverage to call on companies. As manufacturing innovation becomes even more important to Northeast Ohio’s competitiveness in the global economy, IIoT offers manufacturers a tremendous opportunity to increase their productivity, spur product innovation, develop tomorrow’s workforce and bring more profit to the bottom line.

 

C2ER – The Council for Community and Economic Research – is a national membership organization of economic development researchers, represents professionals working for chambers of commerce, economic development organizations, local government, utilities, academic institutions, and regional planning councils.

 

364 Days Until Census Day 2020!

CREC Staff attended the Census 2020: Navigating the National and Local Challenges panel discussion hosted by the Brookings Institution to hear legal, demographic, and Census experts discuss possibly the most news covered Decennial. Primary questions from the meeting revolved implications of including the citizenship question in the Decennial Census, cybersecurity, and how to encourage residents to respond.

Former Census Bureau Director John Thompson noted that there is “no basis for the citizenship question” and that agency research indicates that it will decrease the response rate. Brookings Senior Fellow William Frey supported Thompson’s statements by emphasizing the importance of gathering this community data and the impacts it will have on communities’ federal funding, private grant dollars, and resources to serve the right population.

Thompson shared that the Census Bureau was underfunded from 2012 – 2017, so the Bureau prioritized shifting from the traditional paper collection to an automated and online process. He noted the Bureau is constantly working on improving cybersecurity and is committed to keeping residents’ responses safe and confidential.

The second panel facilitated by the National League of Cities’ CEO Clarence Anthony focused on the implications and efforts at the local level to ensure the best data possible is collected. Beth Link, the Director of Census Counts, encouraged communities to educate their elected officials and noted that there will be questionnaire assistance centers to help make the necessary technology accessible to communities where it’s needed and to help answer questions as residents complete the forms.

C2ER and the LMI Institute will continue to monitor 2020 Census preparations and will serve as a resource to our members moving forward. To learn more and hear directly from Census Bureau leadership, join us at the C2ER Annual Conference and LMI Institute Forum June 3 – 7, 2019 in St. Louis.

Resources shared during the discussion include:

Recordings of the Panels can be found below.

Call for WIAC Nominations

Dear Economic and Workforce Development Leaders,

C2ER and the LMI Institute are collaborating with National Association of State and Workforce Agencies (NASWA) to facilitate nominations of State Labor Market Information (LMI) Directors, economic development leaders, Workforce Information Board representatives, academics, and business leaders to serve on the Workforce Information Advisory Council (WIAC), which was created under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

The WIAC is required to have 14 members, appointed by the Secretary of Labor, including four (4) State Workforce Agency LMI Directors, one (1) economic development leader, one (1) Workforce Board representative, one (1) academic researcher, and one (1) business leader.

Please consult the Federal Register Notice for detailed information on the membership of the WIAC, the nominations process, and the nomination requirements. A year ago, the WIAC successfully submitted recommendations to the Secretary of Labor for improving the nation’s workforce and labor market information. C2ER Board Chair, Jennifer Zeller of Georgia Power, and association member Andrew Reamer of George Washington University are among the original WIAC members who helped draft the recommendations.

Action Requested:  If interested, send your nomination materials to Ken Poole (kpoole@crec.net), C2ER and LMI Institute Executive Director, by Thursday, January 31, 2019. Required nomination materials include: a current resume or CV, cover letter, and contact information.

Thanks for your interest and we look forward to hearing from you.

Ken Poole

The Opportunity Atlas Collage

Just released to the public this week, Harvard researcher Raj Chetty and team, in conjunction with the Census Bureau have created an interactive tool to explore economic mobility at the neighborhood and Census Tract level – The Opportunity Atlas.

C2ER staff have enjoyed reading up on and playing with the new tool. The list below offers a collage of quick links to articles exploring the analysis it has to offer.

Find anything interesting to share using the tool? We’d love to hear from you!

C2ER Update on Federal Statistics September 2018

Is Congress funding my data?

President Trump’s agenda to cut costs and streamline government has those who use and value Federal statistics concerned about the future of critical agencies we rely on. Frankly, these agencies, such as the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) have been flat funded for almost a decade. Now what? The latest we heard on funding could be dire for BLS and concerning for the Census.  It is crucial that C2ER members communicate to their Senators and Representatives the importance of BLS data to businesses’ decision-making and profitability. For example, Steve Pierson wrote an op-ed in the Washington post on the importance of funding the Bureau of Labor Statistics, providing an important voice in a newspaper undoubtedly read by legislators and their staffers.

Continue reading

The 58th Annual C2ER Conference and LMI Institute Forum Is Near

Join us in Atlanta for the 58th Annual C2ER Conference and LMI Institute Forum. Click here for the full agenda. For additional information, visit the Conference page. Hope to see you there!