The University of Maine System (UMS) will participate in the High Value Credentials for New England (HVCNE) initiative, a project launched earlier this year by the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) and Credential Engine with support from the Lumina Foundation.
UMS is the second higher education system to join HVCNE.
Dedicated to creating credential transparency and revealing the credential marketplace, Credential Engine provides a common language to describe credentials, a cloud-based Registry to collect and connect credential data, and a platform to support applications that would utilize credential information.
HVCNE is the first regional effort to utilize the Registry to increase transparency about postsecondary credentials for individuals, employers, institutions and policymakers in New England. Indiana, New Jersey, Michigan, Kansas, and Ohio have also launched similar initiatives to publish credentials to the Registry, recognizing its value in creating career pathways, providing comparative data to prospective students and credential competency information to employers to be used in the hiring process.
UMS plans to begin publishing credentials from all seven of its universities in winter 2019. The goals of UMS’s participation include augmenting workforce development strategies around credential attainment in key industries and improving understanding of the emerging credentials ecosystem at the higher education institution and system levels.
“Maine’s public universities are committed to increasing the size and skills of the Maine workforce in response to our state’s demographic challenges,” said University of Maine System Chancellor James H. Page. “Credential Engine will help increase awareness of program outcomes and the Maine career opportunities available to our students and graduates. Information and transparency can help encourage greater participation in public higher education, a better return on investment for our students and their families, and more career-ready graduates for Maine employers.”
“High Value Credentials for New England will shed useful light on opportunities for residents of the region to sustain our human capital advantage and identify new credentials and credential pathways, as well as partnerships and collaboration between the higher education and business communities,” said NEBHE President & CEO Michael K. Thomas.
The Commission on Higher Education & Employability, a regional venture of NEBHE chaired by Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, recommended that New England states collaborate to support the build-out of the Registry. The Commission found that the proliferation of multiple types and sources of credentials is creating a complex environment for individuals, institutions and employers to evaluate their value.
Over the next 24 months, NEBHE will work with state higher education agencies and institutions, as well as private colleges and third-party providers to populate the Registry with credentials and data pertinent to individuals’ education and career choices, state attainment goals, and employers’ hiring decisions.
Candace Williams is NEBHE director for strategic initiatives and special assistant to the president. Stephanie McGrath is NEBHE policy & research analyst.