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11.16 Credential Policy

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Chapter 11.16.1 Resources

Chapter 11.5 Comments and responses

11.16.1 Credential Policy

Effective date: August 7, 2017

The Credential Attainment Rate Indicator measures the attainment of two types of credentials:

  1. Recognized postsecondary credential
  2. Secondary school diploma or its recognized equivalent

The definitions in this section only determine which "credentials" are allowable for inclusions to satisfy WIOA Performance reporting. The definitions do not validate the quality nor the utility of certificates for non-WIOA reporting purposes.

The following are acceptable types of credentials that count toward the credential attainment indicator.

  • Secondary school diploma or recognized equivalent
  • Associate's degree
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Graduate degree for purposes of the vocational rehabilitation program
  • Occupational licensure, certification, and certificate (includes Registered Apprenticeship, Career and Technical Education educational certificates, and technical diplomas)
  • Other recognized certificates of industry/occupational skills completion sufficient to qualify for entry-level or advancement in employment.

What is a "Recognized Postsecondary Credential"?

A recognized postsecondary credential is awarded in recognition of an individual's attainment of measurable technical or industry/occupation skills necessary to obtain employment or advance within an industry/occupation. These technical skills or industry/occupational skills generally are based on standards developed or endorsed by employers or industry associations. Neither certificates awarded by workforce development boards (WDBs), nor work readiness certificates, are included in this definition because neither type of certificate documents the measurable technical or industry/occupational skills necessary to gain employment or advance within an occupation. Likewise, such certificates must recognize technological or industry/occupational skills for the specific industry/occupational rather than general skills related to safety, hygiene, etc., even if such general skills certificates are broadly required to qualify for entry-level employment or advancement in employment.

Who can award a recognized postsecondary credential?

A variety of different public and private entities issue recognized postsecondary credentials. Below is a list of the types of organizations and institutions that award recognized postsecondary credentials (not all credentials by these entities meet the definition of recognized postsecondary credential).

  • A state educational agency or a state agency responsible for administering vocational and technical education within a state;
  • An institution of higher education described in Section 102 of the Higher Education Act (20 USC 1002) that is qualified to participate in the student financial assistance programs authorized by title IV of that Act. This includes community colleges, proprietary schools, and all other institutions of higher education that are eligible to participate in federal student financial aid programs;
  • An institution of higher education that is formally controlled, or has been formally sanctioned or chartered, by the governing body of an Indian tribe or tribes.
  • A professional, industry, or employer organization. Examples include:
    • National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence certification
    • National Institute for Metalworking Skills, Inc.,
    • Machining Level I credential, or
  • Product manufacturer or developer using a valid and reliable assessment of an individual's knowledge, skills and abilities. Examples include:
    • Recognized Microsoft Information Technology certificates, such as Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP)
    • Certified Novell Engineer,
    • Sun Certified Java Programmer, etc.
  • ETA's Office of Apprenticeship or a State Apprenticeship Agency;
  • A public regulatory agency, which awards a credential upon an individual's fulfillment of educational, work experience, or skill requirements that are legally necessary for an individual to use an occupational or professional title or to practice an occupation or profession (e.g., Federal Aviation Administration aviation mechanic license, or a state-licensed asbestos inspector); Examples are Wisconsin DSPS, DHS, DOA.
  • A program that has been approved by the Department of Veterans Affairs to offer education benefits to veterans and other eligible persons.
  • Job Corps, which issues certificates for completing career training programs that are based on industry skills standards and certification requirements.

Definition of a Secondary School Diploma1

For purposes of the credential attainment performance indicator, a secondary school diploma (or alternate diploma) (commonly referred to as high school diploma) is one that is recognized by a state and that is included for accountability purposes under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). A secondary school equivalency certification signifies that a student has completed the requirements for a high school education. The types of recognized equivalents, for those not covered under ESEA, that would satisfy this performance indicator are those recognized by a state. Examples of secondary school diplomas, alternate diplomas, and recognized equivalents recognized by individual states include:

  • Obtaining certification of attaining passing scores on a state-recognized high school equivalency test.
  • Earning a secondary school diploma or state-recognized equivalent through a credit bearing secondary education program sanctioned by state law, code, or regulation.

Credential Determinations

Wisconsin's Title I Workforce Development System may request confirmation if a certificate is valid for inclusion in WIOA Performance Indicators by contacting wisperforms@dwd.wisconsin.gov. Requests will be reviewed by Performance Advisory Committee with an answer provided to the requestor and documented in a repository.


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