(ANSI: Washington, D.C.) -- Twenty-one federal government representatives from 10 different agencies met at the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) headquarters in Washington, D.C., for the third “Interagency Best Practices—ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024” meeting on April 11, 2012. The biannual meetings provide an opportunity for agency representatives to share insights and consider possible models for creating or implementing credentialing programs, both within and outside their agency, that will foster a more robust and successful U.S. workforce.
While the government and private sectors continue to focus on job creation as a critical component of economic recovery, the skills gap has left 3 million jobs vacant in the United States today. Concrete, effective solutions are needed to diminish this divide, and quality, standards-based credentialing is one tool that can help better meet the needs of future job-seekers and employers.
The biannual meetings are intended to assist government agencies, the private sector, and the public in understanding the essential components of certification and to help educate individuals to seek only certifications with market value.
Originally initiated by U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Office of Personnel Management (OPM) representatives a year ago, the ongoing series of meetings has grown to include participation from nearly 50 representatives from 20 different agencies—a level of engagement that can be attributed to increased federal interest in the alignment of credentials to a nationally and internationally recognized standard for quality.
The U.S. agencies in attendance at the April 11 meeting and their respective credentialing program areas discussed included:
• Department of Defense: cybersecurity
• Department of Energy: residential energy-reduction and weatherization
• Department of Energy: Superior Energy Performance (SEP) program
• Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Food and Drug Administration (FDA): food, drugs, and medical devices
• Office of Personnel Management: executive resources and employee development
• Internal Revenue Service (IRS): tax preparers
Also in the room were representatives from agencies currently considering developing credentials to meet demonstrated workforce needs. A representative from the Department of Transportation (DOT) shared that DOT is increasingly looking to credentials to help fill the large number of transportation jobs opening up in the near future. Another representative in the forensic laboratory services indicated the importance of quality certifications in that industry. Many of the attendees expressed gratitude for ANSI’s ongoing efforts in bringing together key government agency representatives to address this critical issue.
The second biannual meeting for 2012 will be held on Wed., Sept. 12, 2012, in Washington, D.C. This meeting will feature for the first time a vital discussion of how federal agencies are using specific credentialing requirements to ensure veterans are given credit for their military experiences. Roy Swift, ANSI’s senior director of personnel credentialing accreditation programs, addressed this during the National Credentialing Summit in February.