New England’s Imperative: Creating Credential Pathways

New England faces a fast-changing economy, economic inequalities and unparalleled demographic challenges. Access to and completion of an affordable postsecondary credential of value is the key to our region’s ability to adapt to changing workforce needs, attract and retain workers, and provide pathways to growth-oriented, high-wage jobs. However, the proliferation of multiple types and sources of credentials, as well as questions around the value of credentials, is creating a complex environment for individuals, institutions and employers to navigate.

Credential Transparency Front and Center

In May 2018, Lumina Foundation awarded the New England Board of Higher Education a grant to launch High Value Credentials for New England (HVCNE) in partnership with Credential Engine. HVCNE will provide individuals, institutions, state policy leaders and employers the tools to:

  • Develop a common language to describe credentials
  • Evaluate credentials’ value
  • Identify critical education and employment pipelines
  • Understand the skills and competencies obtained in earning a credential

HVCNE will target the life/bioscience, healthcare, information technology and business/finance fields. Higher education institutions and other credential providers in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island will upload credentials awarded in these areas to the Credential Registry — a cloud-based library that houses, organizes and connects credential information. The Credential Registry will use the Credential Transparency Description Language (CTDL), which provides humans with a common set of terms to describe credentials and machines with a readable language that can be used to build customized apps.

Bringing Innovation to the Region’s Credential Marketplace

HVCNE and the Credential Registry will provide infrastructure enabling individuals, states, institutions, and employers to look at credentials in new ways. Examples of how the Registry may be used to spur innovative practices in New England include:

Students / Workers — By publishing life-/bioscience, health, IT, and business & finance credentials in New England to the Registry, prospective students can better search for and understand their education and training options within each New England state and across the region and the competencies acquired through these credentials, helping them make more informed decisions.

Career Exploration — In the future, the Registry can be connected to career exploration tools used by students, academic advisors and career counselors to identify career pathways and relevant credentials.

Employers — Assessing credentials and their competencies via the Registry, employers can expand their view of credentials to a wider range of providers and make more informed hiring decisions.

Educators — By reviewing credential offerings within an institution and across systems at secondary and postsecondary education and training levels, institution leaders can make more informed choices about course offerings, competencies and delivery models.

States — Registry data can inform public policy decisions around workforce development, career pathways, and strategies to meet attainment goals.


To download the HVCNE one-pager, click here.


For more information about HVCNE, contact Candace Williams, Director of Policy Research and Strategic Initiatives, at