Identifying Credentials of Value in Rhode Island

Governor Gina Raimondo's Roadmap for Postsecondary Attainment in the Ocean State sets an ambitious goal of postsecondary credentialing for 70% of working-age Rhode Islanders by 2025. While much attention has been paid both locally and nationally to the lifetime earnings gains that accrue to people with a postsecondary degree (Bachelor's or Associate's),1 less is known about the workforce outcomes that accrue to people who have no postsecondary degree, but do possess some other type of non-degree credential (for example, EMT training or teacher assistant training).

In collaboration with the Governor's Office, the Governor's Workforce Board, and contributing agency partners RIDE, DLT, and RIOPC, and with technical assistance from the National Skills Coalition, DataSpark conducted a longitudinal analysis to assess the workforce outcomes for such credentials. We used data that were already available in the DataHUB and collected additional data from new sources such as the RI Department of Health professional licenses database and Lincoln Technical Institute. We compared individuals with only a high school degree to those with a high school degree + a non-degree credential, looking for wage premiums accruing to the latter group. The findings were shared internally with the project partners to be used in evaluating which credential types were potentially more valuable to workers than others. The study was descriptive rather than causal, and should be understood as a preliminary look at the issue rather than a policy-guiding study.

  1. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Overview of Included Credentials

To protect confidential data, the dashboard visualizations cannot be filtered by individual credentials. However, the individual data sources are listed below. Each credential we assessed was offered by one of these agencies/institutions and its workforce training programs:

Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training

Wage (2000-2019)

Apprenticeship (1979-2020)

Real Jobs Real Pathways (1970-2022)

Workforce Innovation CTE (2012-2020)

Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) (2015-2020)

Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) (2013-2020)

Rhode Island Department of Education

Enrollment (SY 2004-2005 to 2018-2019)

Career & Technical Education (CTE) (SY 2014-2015 to 2018-2019)

National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) (2012-2020)

Rhode Island Department of Health (2000-2019)

Lincoln Tech Skilled Trade Schools & Vocational School (2012-2018)

IYRS School of Technology & Trades (2013-2018)

Community College of Rhode Island (2009-2019)

Rhode Island College (2011-2020)

Credentials of Value (COV) Dashboard

Click on the bottom right icon to open the dashboard in full-screen. See Sheet 5 in the dashboard for Data Notes.