By Nick Soto, ICE Chair
Each person and industry we serve has been impacted in some way by the myriad difficulties this year has brought about. In the face of these challenges, however, there are three strong, positive themes I have seen emerge within our organization: Community. Competence. Credibility.
Like most organizations, I.C.E. has been forced to face these challenges head on. This presented an opportunity for I.C.E. to continue to re-evaluate its mission and vision.
To begin to unify I.C.E.'s identity, the Board of Directors approved an initiative that will help clarify brand relationships and distinguish programs from one another, such as the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), the Assessment-based Certificate Accreditation Program (ACAP), I.C.E. Academy, I.C.E. Exchange and other ICE programs.
Many of us have been involved with I.C.E. for several years, so we understand the value that the organization offers our community of credentialing professionals. It is also important, however, that the public understand the value of I.C.E.
Branding a new narrative is important because it demonstrates our commitment to the industry. Members and the board met to determine what makes I.C.E. a credible organization. A taskforce of volunteers used the feedback and created the following general statement:
The Institute for Credentialing Excellence (I.C.E.) provides a supportive learning and networking community for credentialing professionals and organizations. Through I.C.E., our members advance their careers and credentialing programs with education, advocacy and volunteer opportunities.
I.C.E. also offers pathways for certification and certificate programs to earn accreditation and demonstrate credibility within their respective fields. With NCCA, I.C.E. 1100 and ISO 17024 accreditations, I.C.E.’s Accreditation Services recognize credentialing programs that meet rigorous standards of excellence to promote quality and competence.
I.C.E.'s membership gathers credentialing professionals of many career stages, industries and functional roles. Our member community supports these professionals as they build and maintain successful credentialing programs, navigate career transitions, find vendor solutions and learn more about the accreditation process. We lead conversations around credentialing best practices and support the professionals who apply them on a daily basis.
This statement will help unify us at every level and ultimately ensure everything we do as an organization ladders back to this.
Being Part of the Solution
While COVID-19 has caused a lot of uncertainty, I.C.E. is committed to being part of the solution. I.C.E. was able to quickly launch virtual member forums with pressing topic discussions on the impacts of the pandemic and remote proctoring, while also adding an opportunistic third enrollment period to register for the Credentialing Specialist program as many navigated the work from home period. NCCA also made quick adjustments by allowing exceptions to the standards and providing guidance for accredited programs to respond to the demand for remote proctoring while testing facilities were forced to close.
Another dilemma facing I.C.E. is around this year's I.C.E. Exchange in Miami, Florida. Every fall, credentialing professionals from around the country gather for three days of education, networking, and business development.
After months of monitoring data from the CDC and collecting feedback through survey data from our community, I.C.E. has decided it is in the best interest of our community and the safety of the I.C.E. Exchange attendees to turn the in-person conference to an virtual event. While the format may be different this year, I.C.E. will still bring you an exciting event with familiar experiences. The event will be more accessible and truly have something for everyone. We hope that you will participate and continue to engage with the I.C.E. community throughout the event.
The I.C.E. Board of Directors, staff and Finance Committee have also spent countless hours reviewing, monitoring and adjusting financial projections to ensure that even through the economic turmoil, I.C.E. remains a financially strong and viable organization. The Governance Committee developed a new sustainability map and the Accreditation Services Council (ASC) generated program evaluations so I.C.E. can easily monitor all programs regularly and closer than ever before.
The Path Ahead
While rebranding our organization and monitoring financial impacts are important, I.C.E. is also going beyond these initiatives. I.C.E. will spend more time emphasizing the development and enhancement of programs, aligning partnerships, and developing resources and data related to diversity, equity and inclusion.
Continuing to develop and train our credentialing professionals is critical to I.C.E.’s mission. Early this year, the Board approved the development of a new certification program. This huge endeavor will take time to properly develop, but speaks volumes to I.C.E.’s response to identifying the credible skills and education behind credentialing professionals. It also ties in with the development of last year’s release of the credentialing career pathways.
To best serve our community with the development and enhancement of programs, I.C.E. has reached out to expand relationships with other like-minded organizations, such as the Association of Test Publishers (ATP), Certification Network Group (CNG), and the Council on Licensure Enforcement & Regulation (CLEAR). Growing these relationships will strengthen the credentialing community and provide more opportunities for collaboration, as well as a unified front.
Continuing Our Momentum
This year has forced everyone to change the way they do business and interact with one another — but I.C.E. as a community has not slowed down. We have built tremendous momentum on these key projects and are moving forward. Let us continue to work together to make the credentialing industry open, welcoming and inclusive.
We want to improve your experience and further advance the credentialing industry. These efforts and expanded outreach are designed with the I.C.E. communities' best interest at the forefront, as well as the impact the economy is having on environment surrounding all of us.
We hope you stay healthy and safe, and hope that you will continue to support the I.C.E. community throughout these initiatives.