This past weekend, Jane Weissman and I attended the National Association of Workforce Investment Boards (NAWB) conference in Washington DC. It was an active conference with participation of Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs) from across the country. Although most attendees did not know of IREC before meeting us at our booth, our message of the value of credentialing – verifying that training programs are teaching the skills covered in an industry-verified job task analysis (JTA) for a particular job – resonated with many of them.
The importance of ensuring that students are being taught the tasks that a job requires cannot be overstated. Industry wants workers who are ready to start on day one. “When a student completes a training program and is handed a piece of paper, it needs to mean something.” These were the words I heard from a passionate attendee of one of the conference presentations. In the context of IREC and ANSI-IREC training program accreditation, this means that a program needs to have market value if it is truly preparing the workforce.
Market value of a training program means that there is a strong linkage with industry. Industry is providing input for the ongoing development of the program, identifying skills needed for jobs that actually exist. The curriculum is developed to cover the tasks from a JTA that has been developed and validated by subject matter experts in the industry. And training organizations are working with industry to help connect graduates of their program to available jobs in their communities. This demonstrates market value and a real contribution to developing the local workforce.
The IREC credentials tell WIBs, students and other stakeholders that a program has demonstrated market value. Does your program measure up? Information about the requirements to achieve an IREC credential can be found here.