Career Development & Industry Credentials Communications Toolkit

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May 3, 2022 - The Colorado Department of Education (CDE), in partnership with the CWDC, the Colorado Community College System (CCCS) Career and Technical Education (CTE), and Colorado Education Initiative, released a communications toolkit to support Colorado’s K-12 schools and districts in communicating about the value of earning industry credentials with students and families. The toolkit was developed in accordance with SB21-119 Access to High Quality Credentials, which expands on the Career Development Incentive Program (CDIP) to strengthen the state’s focus on prioritizing in-demand, industry-recognized credentials with labor market value.

The Career Development & Industry Credentials Communications Toolkit is designed to help school and district leaders increase student and family access to, awareness of, and engagement with industry credentials and the opportunities that students have to prepare for earning these credentials while in high school. The toolkit contains background information, sample messaging and tools, a communications plan template, and more to support K-12 leaders in promoting their industry credentials offerings and increasing participation in CDIP programs across all student subgroups.

Top 10 Industry Credentials List

A major component of the toolkit and SB21-119 is the 2021-22 Top 10 Industry Credentials List, which includes the 10 industry credentials in highest demand and lowest supply across industry sectors and the state of Colorado that are attainable for a high school student to earn by graduation. In the toolkit, a link to a one page flyer is included for each credential that highlights the typical occupations in the industry, median annual earnings, potential career pathways, and more details for someone interested in earning the credential. The flyers can alo be downloaded and customized by individual schools to highlight their specific programming and course titles. 

The top 10 credentials include:

  • Autodesk Certified User
  • Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Entry-Level Automotive Service Technology and ASE Entry-Level Maintenance and Light Repair
  • Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
  • Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) or Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA)
  • Certified Pharmacy Technician
  • Child Development Associate (CDA)
  • CompTIA A+
  • Emergency Medical Responder (EMR)
  • ​​(ISC)² Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SCCP) or Associate
  • Microsoft Office Specialist

The credentials listed were identified using data from Colorado EMSI/Burning Glass Labor Market Information and the Talent Pipeline Report, and were also identified by industry partners and employers as having a high value in hiring and aligning to living wage jobs. All Top 10 Industry Credentials are included on the overall 2022-2023 CDIP list and maintain the same value as other CDIP certifications.