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Alt Credentials Gaining Favor

Workers are increasingly turning to alternative credentials to enhance and demonstrate skills and work-readiness, reports the Society for Human Resource Management.

SHRM Foundation research, supported by Walmart, found that nearly half of American workers (45%) say they have some form of an alternative credential. Among those who don’t, about half (49%) say they have considered earning one.

“Alternative credentials are key to uncovering untapped talent, especially when it comes to those job seekers who may not have the opportunity to build skills in a traditional way but have the competencies they need to succeed,” stressed SHRM Foundation President Wendi Safstrom.

SHRM noted that while employees and employers alike agree that alternative credentials bring value to the workplace and are instrumental in employee development, potential barriers continue to exist for wider recognition of these kinds of credentials.

Barriers are said to include a lack of systems that can easily identify an individual’s skills and talents, standards to recognize nontraditional or untapped talent, as well as employer reluctance to recognize a new way to validate these particular skills.

Alternative credentials include micro-credential, industry or professional certification, apprenticeship (registered or nonregistered), or badging that indicates competencies and skills in a defined field.

Alternative credentials are said not to include traditional education (bachelor’s degree or associate degree) or occupational licensures (e.g., commercial driver’s license or license to practice law).

Alternative credentials are popular with workers – 72% agree they are an affordable way to gain skills or experience needed for a new job, and 77% agree that increases their chances of being hired for a job.

When employers recognize alternative credentials, it also makes it easier for more diverse candidates to obtain employment, SHRM says.

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