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IREC is expanding its clean energy credentialing offerings with a micro-credentialing framework.

The rise of full-scope clean energy certification schemes was beneficial to this growing industry. They provided necessary rigor and helped structure job definitions and much-needed competency-based assessments of personnel.

However, the market for clean energy continues to expand, the options for credentialing need to expand as well. Full-scope certification schemes alone have not always met the needs of employers to recruit and promote personnel with the right blend of validated skills.

IREC is developing a micro-credentialing framework in direct response to an identified gap in the credentialing landscape.

To develop clean energy micro-credentials for your industry, contact IREC today.

IREC has developed a nimbler framework to validate specialty skills and competencies that would co-exist alongside full-scope certification schemes. The term ‘micro-credential’ was selected as the best descriptor for the product, although the term is still in flux in the market. A micro-credential as defined by IREC is viewed as an opportunity for individuals to demonstrate competency in a specialty area.

“Today, we see emerging as a pressing priority quality third party validation of specialty skills both for clean energy allied professionals whose jobs ‘touch’ solar in some way and for add-on skills for full-scope credentials that currently exist within the clean energy professions.”

Anna Sullivan, IREC Director of Credentialing

Candidates for a micro-credential may or may not be in the core profession, but some portion of their job might call for a specific set of knowledge and skills associated with the relevant core profession to be performed competently and safely. In other words, a micro-credential does not typically cover a full job description.

Micro-credentials can also apply to practitioners in a specific field who wish to add defined specialties to existing certifications or to reach a higher credentialed status through stackable credentials.

For example, practitioners who are already certified as photovoltaic system (PV) installers may need to demonstrate proficiency in integrating the latest technology in energy storage, or other specialty skills that were not originally validated when the certification was attained.

National Apartment Association Micro-credential

Under IREC’s partnership with the National Apartment Association, IREC added an energy efficiency micro-credential to the group’s existing certified apartment maintenance technician track. The add-on credential covers everything from recognizing when energy efficiency maintenance is needed to sourcing contractors to communicating with residents about energy efficiency. This strategy could be used similarly with solar, adding solar installation as an add-on skill for roofers or builders or other related fields.

Making the Business Case for Micro-Credentials

IREC contributed to this report by In this report by Professional Testing, Inc. The report describes reasons behind the growth in micro-credentials and features four unique micro-credential models as case studies.

A Case Study in Micro-Credentialing

In January 2015, IREC convened a summit of credentialing and energy industry experts in Washington D.C. to examine the viability and potential anatomy of a nimbler framework to
validate specialty skills and competencies that would co-exist alongside full-scope certification schemes. The term micro-credential was used to describe and define the product, and the
need for and potential barriers to market uptake was explored in depth.

Following the summit, IREC identified possible candidates for piloting a custom micro-credential framework and partnered with Professional Testing, Inc. (PTI) to design a prototype for a credible, valid, and high-quality micro-credential development process. This report details the work accomplished so far, the lessons learned, and future directions for expanding on the framework and adoption of micro-credentials within and potentially beyond the clean energy sector.

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