How Attaining Industry-Recognized Credentials in High School Shapes Education and Employment Outcomes
Conferred by businesses, industry groups, and state-certifying entities, industry-recognized credentials (IRCs) are intended to signal that students have mastered specific workplace knowledge and skills. This report from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute describes a first-of-its-kind study that used data from more than 1 million Texas students to examine how IRCs earned in high school affected college enrollment and workforce outcomes. In addition, the report provides insight into the types of students who tend to earn IRCs and summarizes qualitative findings to examine students' views of IRCs and their value. The findings indicate that IRCs are slightly related to increases in employment, while a few specific IRCs (i.e., cosmetology, transportation) are positively correlated to increases in earnings. Education leaders and policymakers can use the findings to improve CTE and IRC opportunities in order to boost student success in the labor market.