Occupational Skill Standards:

Experience Shows Industry Involvement to Be Key

T-HRD-93-23: Published: May 14, 1993. Publicly Released: May 14, 1993.

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GAO discussed voluntary skill standards and certification systems. GAO noted that: (1) sponsoring organizations that believe workers and employers benefit from certification systems; (2) common elements among certification systems included industry ownership and control, requirements to keep workers' skills current, national portability of credentials, and integration of industry standards with education providers through accreditation programs; (3) the most important element common to the systems reviewed was industry ownership and control; (4) obstacles to developing and expanding certification systems included the high costs of developing and maintaining certification systems, difficulties in developing industry coalitions to develop systems and reaching an agreement on standards, the lack of promotion standards, the lack of uniform definitions of occupations, and problems bringing employers, educators, and workers together to develop these systems; and (5) certification sponsors believe that federal support and collaboration would help foster broad-based development of skill standards and certification systems, but there was no consensus on how federal support should be provided.

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