Adult Training and Education: Results from the National Household Education Surveys Program of 2016

Author(s): Cronen, Stephanie; McQuiggan, Meghan; and Isenberg, Emily.

Organizational Author(s): National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Ed.

Funding Source: U.S. Department of Education

Resource Availability: Publicly available

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Presents data on the rate of attainment and perceived value of work experience programs and non-degree credentials, which include work credentials and post-secondary educational certificates, from a 2016 national survey of noninstitutionalized adults ages 16 to 65.


“This report presents data on adults’ training and education in the United States as of 2016. The report focuses on nondegree credentials and work experience programs. Nondegree credentials include two types of work credentials—certifications and licenses—and postsecondary educational certificates. Work experience programs include internships…clerkships…clinical experiences, apprenticeships, and similar programs. Characteristics of the adults who earn these credentials and complete these programs are also presented….The data for this report come from the Adult Training and Education Survey (ATES), administered as part of the 2016 National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES:2016). The ATES collects information from noninstitutionalized adults ages 16 to 65 who are not enrolled in high school.

One of the main goals of the ATES was to capture the prevalence of nondegree credentials, including estimates of:

  • Adults who have an occupational certification or license (hereafter referred to as `work credentials’), the type of work these credentials are for, adults’ perceptions of the usefulness of these credentials in the labor market, and the role of postsecondary education programs in preparing adults for these credentials; and
  • Adults who have postsecondary educational certificates, including the subject field of the certificates, adults’ perceptions of the usefulness of certificates in the labor market, and the role of certificate programs in preparing adults for work credentials.

A second goal…was to learn more about work experience programs, including characteristics of the programs that adults participated in and programs’ perceived usefulness in the labor market. While these programs do not necessarily result in work or educational credentials, they are one way for adults to develop work skills.

The NHES:2016 surveyed a nationally representative…sample covering the 50 states and the District of Columbia and was conducted…from January through August 2016….When weighted, the ATES data are nationally representative of noninstitutionalized adults ages 16–65, not enrolled in grades 12 or below….All statements of comparison have been tested for statistical significance using two-tailed t-tests and are significant at the 95 percent confidence level….

This First Look report presents selected descriptive information….[T]his report is intended to encourage more in-depth analysis…using more sophisticated statistical methods” (p.1-2).

(Abstractor: Author)

Major Findings & Recommendations

Selected Findings
“Nondegree Credentials
• In 2016, a total of 27 percent of adults reported having a nondegree credential” (p.3).
• “Eight percent of adults reported having a postsecondary certificate…[and these adults] were most often employed in administrative support” (p.3).
• “Twenty-one percent of adults reported…a currently active work credential….Licenses were more prevalent than certifications—18 percent…reported having a license, compared to 6 percent reporting a certification” (p.3).
• “These work credentials were more prevalent among adults with college degrees….For example, 48 percent of adults with a graduate or professional degree had a work credential compared to 5 percent of adults with less than a high school education” (p.3).
• “The two most common…fields in which certification holders worked were healthcare…and business management and operations….The two most common…fields in which license holders worked were healthcare…and education and library occupations” (p.3).
• “The most common field in which adults were certified or licensed was healthcare (31 percent)” (p.3).
• “Most…reported that their most important credential was for their current job…and that they prepared …by taking classes from a college, technical school, or trade school” (p.3).
“Work Experience Programs
• Overall, 21 percent of adults reported completing a work experience program” (p.3).
• “Work experience programs can include a range of characteristics. Overall, 11 percent of adults completed a [paid] work experience program…; 6 percent completed a program that lasted one year or more; 14 percent completed a program that was…after high school, and 9 percent completed a program that included both instruction…and evaluation by a co-worker or supervisor” (p.3).
• “Among adults who reported completing a work experience program, the most prevalent program field was healthcare…[followed by] teaching” (p.4).
“Usefulness of Nondegree Credentials and Work Experience Programs
• A majority of adults reported that their most important work credential was very useful for getting a job (82 percent), keeping a job (80 percent), remaining marketable to employers…(81 percent), and improving work skills (66 percent)” (p.4).
• “Among adults who reported completing a work experience program, 64 percent found them to be very useful for getting a job…but only 37 percent considered them to be very useful for increasing their pay” (p.4).
(Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

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Views: 5
Publication Date: 2017
Posted: 5/16/2018 9:24 PM
Posted In: Workforce System Strategies
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