ERIC Number: ED364752
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-May
Reference Count: N/A
Skill Standards. Experience in Certification Systems Shows Industry Involvement To Be Key. Report to the Chairman, Joint Economic Committee, U.S. Congress.
General Accounting Office, Washington, DC. Div. of Human Resources.
In an attempt to determine their role in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of skill training programs, existing standards and certification systems in 20 selected occupations were reviewed to identify the following: their common characteristics, barriers to their development and use, benefits of standards and certification to employers and workers, and actions taken by the federal government concerning their development and use. Eight systems were selected for further review: automobile mechanic; medical records technician; heating, ventilation, and air conditioning service technician; operating engineer; medical or clinical laboratory technician; welder; printing technician; and craftworker (stone mason and carpenter). Information gathered about these programs included origin, examinations, recertification, size, and funding. Information on planned federal actions was gathered through interviews with labor and education officials and perusal of announcements from the government. Findings were as follows: (1) organizations and industries sponsoring skill standards and certification systems believe that the systems are worthwhile, but little data are available to assess such beliefs; (2) the six most commonly identified obstacles to the development of standards and certification systems were high costs, long time periods for acceptance, difficulties in developing industry coalitions and reaching agreement on standards, lack of structure, and lack of uniform occupational definitions; and (3) the Departments of Education and Labor believe the systems have value and are promoting them. Common elements among systems that were reviewed included the following: industry ownership and control, recertification requirements to keep certificate holders' skills current, national portability of credentials, integration of industry standards with education providers through an accreditation program; and a requirement for recertification. (This report includes four appendixes: a table of occupations selected and criteria for selecting them; profiles of certification systems for the eight occupations selected; a list of skill standards development grants; and a list of major contributors to the report.) (KC)
Descriptors: Air Conditioning, Auto Mechanics, Carpentry, Certification, Craft Workers, Credentials, Heating, Masonry, Medical Laboratory Assistants, Medical Record Technicians, Medical Technologists, Occupational Tests, Operating Engineering, Postsecondary Education, Printing, Skilled Occupations, Standards, Technical Occupations, Welding
U.S. General Accounting Office, P.O. Box 6015, Gaithersburg, MD 20884-6015 (first copy free; additional copies $2 each; 100 or more: 25% discount).
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: General Accounting Office, Washington, DC. Div. of Human Resources.