Billions of taxpayer dollars have been spent building a system of "certification" for jobs and skills.  Why?  So that in the online Human Resource Management System, on the electronic resume - and on the electronic job requirements listing, a box can be checked and there will be a definition for the box.  Example:

Position:   Nurse's Aide 

Certified Skills:
Reducing everything to a check box enables a computer search through millions of resumes for candidates that have checks in the right boxes. 

The project to establish "standards" and certifications began in 1990 with the Secretary's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) but it was formalized in 1994 when the National Skills Standards Board was authorized in Title V of the 'Goals 2000: Educate America Act'.  It became Public Law 103-227 on March 31, 1994 when the President signed it.  It should be noted that while the documentation says that it's voluntary, all government programs begin as voluntary and then become mandatory down the road.

To learn about the Secretary's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills, Joe Esposito's book, "Tangled Web" is highly recommended.    Update    Pullout.     And of course, the SCANS reports that were published by the U.S. Labor Department. 

National Skills Standards Board (NSSB)

NSSB Brief Description

NSSB Committee Objectives

Board Bios

Skill Standards "Around the Globe"         BLS International Cooperation    Immigration Employers & HR Directors            (because what started out as a national system of labor management - became a global slave trading system)

Standards Developed from Initiatives

NSSB Clusters Overview

Career Clusters Overview

Career Clusters Structure        Career Clusters presentation by Idaho Workforce Development Council

              Hospitality and Tourism Cluster Model 
              Marketing, Sales and Service Cluster Model
              Manufacturing Cluster Model

Career Clusters by State

It should be noted, when they discuss the clusters, they always make it appear that it's for adult vocational education, but the truth... "The Real"   is that this system is cradle-to-grave and the vocational training begins with worker skills in kindergarten and hands-on, work-based learning (involuntary servitude) begins in junior high school.

"Technology, Life and Careers" for Grades 6-7