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 provides individuals, institutions, state policy leaders and employers the tools to:

  • Utilize a common language to catalogue, connect and compare credentials
  • Interpret the quality and value of credentials
  • Identify critical education, training and employment pipelines
  • Understand the skills and competencies obtained in earning a credential

HVCNE targets the life-/bioscience, health, IT, and business & finance fields. Higher education institutions and other credential providers across the region are publishing credentials awarded in these areas to the Credential Registry — a cloud-based library that houses, organizes, and links credential information. The Credential Registry uses the Credential Transparency Description Language (CTDL), which provides a common set of terms to describe credentials and allows machines to use a readable language that can be used tobuild customized apps or integrate data.

Bringing Innovation to the Region’s Credential Marketplace

HVCNE and the Credential Registry provide an infrastructure that enables diverse 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 – Individuals can better search for and understand their education and training options within each New England state and across the region, including how competencies and learning outcomes translate to in-demand skills.

Career Exploration – Integration with career exploration tools can help students, academic advisors and career counselors identify education, training and career pathways and credentials.

Employers – Assessing credentials and their competencies via the Registry, employers can expand their view of credentials, leading to new partnerships and 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 program 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 joining HVCNE, contact Candace Williams, Director of Policy Research and Strategic Initiatives, at