Key Initiative

Manufacturing Credentials: Now and for the Future

The U.S. manufacturing sector continues to be central to the national economy, and relies on a highly skilled workforce of more than 12 million workers. The majority of jobs in manufacturing are likely to require a high school diploma or less. Because of this, Workcred discovered that credentials have uneven use in the manufacturing industry and are not routinely required or used as a major factor in hiring or promotion decisions.

In order to more effectively use credentials and support a competitive manufacturing workforce, Workcred developed new research to understand how manufacturing employers and workers value credentials, which credentials they value, and how they determine whether or not to pursue additional credentials.

To address this, Workcred conducted direct interviews with frontline workers (credential holders), hiring managers, and supervisors at small- and medium-sized manufacturing facilities. By examining the viewpoints from these three different stakeholder groups, Workcred anticipated a more nuanced understanding of the use and value of credentials in this important sector. Regardless of the geographic location, industry, or job role held, there were two common themes in manufacturing that were uncovered as part of this study: a value for credentials and confusion about the worth of specific credentials.

More information and outcomes of the research are detailed in the report, Examining the Return on Investment of Manufacturing Credentials (

Link to Website:

Partners: Workcred, Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Center, George Washington Institute for Public Policy


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