Opening Doors to Different Pathways in Education: Roy Swift Talks Certifications with Expert Series Host

In 2021, Workcred joined the broadcast realm, partnering with RVN Television’s Morning Coffee Expert Series to bring greater clarity to the public on wide-ranging credentialing and workforce topics. One year later, Workcred’s executive director, Roy Swift, Ph.D., sat down with RVN Television’s talk show host and producer, Joe Asumendi, to assess the series and plans for the future.

*Interview edited for clarity, grammar, and length.

Roy Swift: Why did you decide to do the Workcred Expert Series interviews?

Joe Asumendi: I had a friend who was involved in credentialing, specifically certifications. We were talking one day about how our education brought us to where we are. We spoke about how certification is often viewed as an alternative option to degrees. We also recognized that some degrees don’t necessarily translate into a well-paying job or a career.

My friend introduced me to you and Workcred as an organization that was involved in the credentialing world, and I was fortunate enough to interview you, Roy. That was when you opened my eyes to how important this subject is to the general public because we knew based on questions we received in the past that the public didn’t understand or weren’t aware of certifications. The combination of our experiences and your interview propelled us to create this ‘Workcred Expert Series.’ The series is based on having experts like yourself come in and talk about all aspects of credentialing. It really has been so rewarding because every person you have brought to us has been fantastic. We always have wonderful comments from our audience about the experts who are interviewed.  

Roy Swift: I’d love to hear more about that. What type of feedback have you received?

Joe Asumendi: It’s one of the most popular series we have because of the experts you bring to us. Not only are they experts in their field, but they are also wonderful people and can relate to the public and what they need to know. The feedback we got in the beginning was a lot of, “I never had any idea what certification was,” or “my son is ready to graduate from high school. He doesn’t necessarily want to go to college, and we’re not too sure he wants to go to a vocational school.” So now, people are realizing they have another pathway, which includes certificates and certifications that could lead to high-paying jobs without having to spend a lot of money on degree costs and a two- or four-year commitment. That opened a lot of eyes for people, I think.

The feedback has always been positive too. And it includes a lot of questions about what’s next? People were calling in and saying, ‘I didn’t know there was a certification in this.’ ‘I didn’t know that people get certified in that.’ ‘I just got out of the military, what do I want to do?’ People want to know about the opportunities that a quality certification can give them.

Roy Swift: What ideas do you have for us to further build on the series?

Joe Asumendi: One thing I found out through the interviews is the fact that more corporations are now looking at certifications as an alternative to just looking for a college degree or certificate. That’s important. Because a person with a quality certification can really reflect their skills and not just what they’ve learned. A lot of the people that I’ve had on the show said that more corporations are taking this to heart and use that as a criterion for hiring more now. For a future episode, it would be interesting to invite an expert from a human resource department in a corporation to discuss how they view certification as part of the hiring process.

I think another thing we should explore is why community colleges are starting to embed certifications into their certificate and degree pathways, because if people don’t want to go from an associate degree to a four-year college and get a bachelor’s degree, using certifications to strengthen the associate degree may be a way to get into the workforce quicker with a good salary.

Also, I think we should talk about apprenticeships in the future. What better experience can you have than working for a company as an apprentice who can earn a wage while learning? And when you’re finished, you can step right into a career.

It has become very evident that we have a long way to go to fully educate the public about certifications. They have been the “forgotten” population when it comes to credentials, but our Workcred Expert Series is starting to help with that edification. We are excited about the future with Workcred.

See all videos in Workcred’s expert series here: Workcred Expert Series.

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