Posted January 19, 2016

NCCER credentials lead Job Corps grads to construction careers

Job Corps reclassifies NCCER Core Curriculum as a prerequisite to higher level career training.

NCCER and the National Office of Job Corps enjoy a longstanding relationship that helps prepare young people for construction careers. Many of Job Corps’ 126 centers across the country offer NCCER training and industry-recognized credentials in crafts such as carpentry, electrical, plumbing, masonry, welding and HVAC.

To encourage young people to earn these valuable industry credentials, the U.S. Department of Labor funds Job Corps’ NCCER programs, and Job Corps issues credit to local centers when students receive NCCER credentials.

To determine the amount of credit awarded, Job Corps classifies credentials as either primary or secondary based on industry criteria for employment. Primary credentials have higher credit weight because they encompass proficiency in a majority of essential job duties, while secondary credentials play a supportive role to the main job functions.

Currently, Job Corps classifies both NCCER’s Core Curriculum: Introductory Craft Skills and craft-specific level curricula as primary credentials. Job Corps recently announced through Information Notice 15-14 that beginning July 1, 2016, NCCER Core Curriculum will be reclassified as a secondary credential in the Job Corps system.

This change is designed to recognize Core Curriculum as foundational, preparing students for success with subsequent, more craft-specific NCCER credentials, which lead directly to in-demand careers in the construction industry. Core Curriculum, therefore, is viewed as supportive or secondary to the main job functions, which are reflected in the primary craft-related curricula.

By placing additional weight on NCCER level credentials, students, contractors and local Job Corps centers all benefit. Students who earn NCCER primary, or craft-related, credentials are better prepared for advanced careers with greater earning potential upon graduation. In addition, Job Corps centers can strengthen their programs through student retention. Contractors who hire graduates get skilled workers to fill high-demand positions, and Job Corps centers serve a critical function in support of economic growth.

NCCER’s training and credentialing process begins with Core Curriculum, a prerequisite to most NCCER Level 1 curricula. The curriculum covers topics such as safety, introductions to hand and power tools, construction math and more. Trainees who complete Core Curriculum have the basic skills needed to continue training in a specific craft area. NCCER craft curricula are structured based on levels of progression, starting with Level 1. The number of levels in a craft program is synonymous with the number of years for registered apprenticeship, which can range from one to five years of training.

NCCER is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) education foundation created by the construction industry to develop standardized curriculum with portable credentials and to help address the skilled construction workforce shortage. NCCER is recognized by the industry as the training, assessment, certification and career development standard for the construction and maintenance craft professional. For more information, visit or contact NCCER customer service at 888.622.3720.

Job Corps is a no-cost education and vocational training program administered by the U.S. Department of Labor that helps young people ages 16 through 24 improve the quality of their lives through vocational and academic training. Funded by Congress, Job Corps has been training young adults for meaningful careers since 1964. Job Corps is committed to offering all students a safe, drug-free environment where they can take advantage of the resources provided. Job Corps' mission is to attract eligible young people, teach them the skills they need to become employable and independent, and place them in meaningful jobs or further education. For more information, visit or call 800.733.5627.