Defining Quality Credentials

Guiding Vision: The state of Tennessee has long recognized the value of postsecondary credentials including, but not limited to, degrees, certificates, diplomas, and certifications. A logical next step is to create a statewide definition of quality non-degree credentials to ensure individuals are investing in credentials which will provide workforce value and create a repository for tracking purposes.

Issue:  Many types of credentials are available to Tennesseans. However, there is not a statewide mechanism to identify and catalog high-quality non-degree credentials that meet workforce needs.


Create a statewide definition for quality credentials aligned with the National Skills Coalition Model which includes:

  • Creating a definition of quality non-degree credentials
  • Developing a policy agenda to increase the number of individuals with quality credentials
  • Developing data tracking policies to support these efforts






1)     Build a cross-functional team consisting of members from business and industry, education, state government, and chambers of commerce across the state to guide the initial work and assess current initiatives led by THEC.

2)     Explore potential partnerships with agencies such as the National Skills Coalition and Credential Engine to build the model and create a statewide repository for quality, non-degree credentials.

3)     Ensure integration of quality credentials into appropriate Tennessee Technical Transfer Pathways.

4)     Verify that existing TDOE and TBR promoted industry certifications meet the newly adopted statewide definition for quality credentials.

5)     Create data tracking procedures and policies.

6)     Develop a submission process and an annual review plan.

NDC Taskforce

Name Title Affiliation
Jay Baker Assistant Commissioner Tennessee Dept. of Labor & Workforce Development
Bo Drake Vice President, Economic & Workforce Development Chattanooga State Community College
Anne Havard Senior Policy Advisor Tennessee Dept. of Human Services
Tachaka Hollins Assistant Vice Chancellor Tennessee Board of Regents
Brandon Hudson Senior Director of Workforce & Economic Development Tennessee Higher Education Commission
Jennie McCabe Workforce Development Consultant Tennessee Dept. of Economic & Community Development
Laura Monks President TCAT Shelbyville
James Roberson Interim Assistant Commissioner Tennessee Dept. of Labor & Workforce Development
Julie Roberts Associate Chief Academic Officer Tennessee Higher Education Commission
Tracy Robinson Director Innovative Academic Initiatives University of Memphis
Jayetta Rogers Director, Veterans Success Center University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Ann Thompson Director of Workforce Development Tennessee Dept. of Economic & Community Development
Laura Ward Senior Vice President, Talent Development Nashville Chamber of Commerce
Sarah Williams Director of CTE Tennessee Dept. of Education