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Industry Credentials: a Valuable Student Pathway to Success

Industry Credentials’ Effect on Earning Potential: A Study of Manufacturing Data

by NSC Blog | Nov 4, 2020 | Electronic Transcript Exchange, Postsecondary Data Partnership, StudentTracker, StudentTracker for High Schools, Transcript & Data Exchange Services |

Dig into Industry Credential Education and Performance Data System’s Preliminary Results

Part 3 of a 4-part series

The Industry Certification Education and Performance Data System initiative studies how industry credential attainment could be matched with, and incorporated into, the enrollment and degree information that the Clearinghouse collects and then matches against Census Bureau data to produce preliminary aggregate labor market outcomes. The National Student Clearinghouse, U.S. Census Bureau, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)/Manufacturing Institute (MI) and their national manufacturing organization partners are partnering on this endeavor.

The data shows that most of the people who earn a manufacturing credential from the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) or the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC) are earning those credentials in the noncredit environment, rather than in high school or on the manufacturing floor.

The goal of the National Association of Manufacturers and Manufacturing Institute’s participation in this project is “to try to bring some order to what is traditionally a pretty chaotic market,” said Gardner Carrick, vice president for strategic initiatives, NAM/MI.

The manufacturing associations sought to determine several things about individuals who earned high-quality manufacturing industry credentials (as defined by the industry itself):

  • Were they more likely to work in manufacturing?
  • What were their wages?
  • How did they intersect with the education system?

In short, the industry wanted to know, “If I hire this person, is he or she really going to be a better employee than someone without a credential? We were frankly unable to answer any of that,” Carrick said.

Using the preliminary data, the Clearinghouse and its partners were able to gain visibility into employment and earnings outcomes based on when an individual earned the credential. The data showed an immediate increase in wages and the year over year increase in wages after the attainment of the last credential. When the data was broken down by age, it reveled additional points of interest:

  • People age 18-25 see an immediate upward wage trajectory for the five years after receiving their credential.
  • Between age 26 and 45, wages are stagnant before earning a credential, then rise steadily for the five years after earning the credential.
  • Finally, people older than 45 who are earning a manufacturing credential are able to replace wages that they lost before they attained that credential.

“Wage replacement for older workers is one of the trickiest public policy conundrums that we face,” Carrick said. “So, the ability to demonstrate that individuals at this age who were able to earn an industry certification immediately began to arrest that decline in wages and ultimately at five years out get back to the same wage level” is key.

The Clearinghouse looks forward to enabling more insights like these as the project moves ahead. Email the Industry Credentials team at industrycredentials@studentclearinghouse.org to learn more!

“If I hire this person, is he or she really going to be a better employee than someone without a credential? We were frankly unable to answer any of that.”

Gardner Carrick
Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, NAM/MI

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