Texas Credentials for the Future

The University of Texas System — Goal 2 Initiative Texas Credentials for the Future

Across the nation and Texas, millions of displaced workers will need specialized education to help them reenter the post-pandemic economy. Up to 25% more workers may need to switch occupations by 2030 compared to before the pandemic. The University of Texas System's effort, the Texas Credentials for the Future initiative, facilitates the expansion and development of new industry-recognized micro-credentials that can help upskill and reskill displaced workers so they can successfully reenter the workforce.

Success will result in:

  • More equitable job placement and earnings outcomes and advancement of social mobility among Texans who need it most.
  • Increased capacity within UT institutions to use labor market analysis and employer/industry engagement to identify short-term educational offerings that are in high demand.
  • A more transparent credential landscape, including common language and definitions to enable better integration of credential information in the college transfer and hiring process.
  • Positioning our universities as institutions for lifelong learning that respond with agility to industry and employer needs.

Our upskilling and reskilling initiative will provide a pathway for workers to reenter the workforce and earn higher wages while expanding and diversifying the talent pool in cybersecurity, IT and other areas that have unfilled jobs and are critical to our nation’s security infrastructure, and broader market needs.

James Milliken, The University of Texas System

Initiative Differentiators

By identifying and collectively tackling the shared goals of employers, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), and institutions of higher education, this initiative represents a model for statewide collaboration and engagement. The taskforce creates opportunities for key employers to interact with and inform the group about their hiring practices in this new environment and participate in conversations about validating and accepting credentials. Using cutting-edge labor market analysis, employment and wage data, and employer feedback, the group will identify current gaps in micro-credential offerings in Texas.

Key Interventions and Milestones

The Texas Credentials for the Future Task Force will identify reskilling initiatives in Texas and other states to establish a baseline and best practices. The Task Force will work with state partners on a mechanism and process for validation of credentials;​ scale and expand existing micro-credentials and create/develop new offerings, in conjunction with employer and industry partners;​ and establish pathways and platforms for enrolling students in short-term credentials who need these opportunities most. The initiative can ensure broad access to short-term credentials through innovative funding, payment and financial assistance models.​

In 2021, the effort will focus on Phase I: expanding and scaling existing certificate and credential offerings. Phase 2 will focus on developing new offerings, based on labor market needs, student interest and employer feedback. 

Expected Impact

The initiative aims to increase the number of vulnerable students who complete a certificate/credential, boost job placement rates for completers of certificates/credentials compared to control group, and raise first- and five- year earnings for completers of certificates/credentials compared to control group.