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About the Build a Model Tool

What is the purpose of the Build a Model Tool?

ETA developed the Build a Competency Model Tool to enable strategic partners to collaborate in building customized competency models that reflect regional workforce needs. The collaborative process for building a competency model is described on the page A Process to Develop Competency Models.

Who are the intended users of this tool?

This tool is intended to support workforce development activities. Users might be, but are not limited to, industry associations, workforce partnerships, labor unions, colleges, businesses, Workforce Development Boards or American Job Centers. Visit the Models in Action section of the Competency Model Clearinghouse (CMC) for examples of how competency models are used.

How can I build or customize an industry competency model?

The Build a Competency Model Tool enables you to build or customize industry competency models that can serve as the foundation for important human resource functions such as recruitment and hiring, training and development, career planning, and performance management. The tool lets you choose up to three industry models or the generic Building Blocks Model as a framework to guide model development. View the Build a Model Tutorial for more information on how to use the tool.

How do I customize competency descriptions when building a model?

After selecting the established model(s) to use as an initial framework, the Build a Competency Model tool will step you through each competency tier, presenting the competencies from the model(s) chosen as the starting framework(s). You can select those competencies you wish to include in your custom model and modify the competency descriptions as necessary. The text descriptions for any competency can be customized to ensure that the language 'rings true' for the industry or occupation in question. Your customized model can then be saved and downloaded as an MS Word document or Excel worksheet. Saved models can be retrieved and modified further as needed. View the Build a Model Tutorial for a demonstration of the functionality of the tool.

Is there help if you get stuck?

Information and instructions are available in the menu on the left side of the screen. Links to these resources are available on most pages. For additional help, contact us at

Is there a fee to use this tool?

No, the tool is free to use.

Are the models I build open for public viewing or are they private under my account?

The models you build are private under your account.

Will the competency models I develop be used by ETA?

To have a model placed on the CMC, it must meet certain requirements and be reviewed and approved by ETA. Guidelines for inclusion of custom-developed models on the CMC can be found in A Guide for Developing Competency Models.

What is the difference between the validated models and the models I can develop with the Build a Competency Model tool?

The industry models on the CMC represent nationally-validated models containing cross-cutting, industry-wide competencies. The competency models you can develop with the Build a Competency Model tool can be tailored for your regional economy, a specific industry-sector, or maybe even for a few key employers.

Can competency models be developed for a state or region?

The validated industry competency models were developed from a national perspective. The Build a Model Tool allows you to customize the models to accommodate state and regional differences. For example, states often have differing occupational licensing requirements. Customized models could include a state's unique licensing requirements.

How could community college programs align with the competencies identified in a competency model?

Advancement in a career is based on critical development experiences, which are described in terms of education, training, or work experience. Community college certificates and degrees could be included in the critical developmental experiences needed to move between the jobs in a career field. There are many examples of collaboration between industry and education leaders to align the curriculum of education and training providers to address the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed in the workplace as identified in competency models. You can read about many of these in the Models in Action section of the CMC. For each competency model, worksheets are available to help users with the process of aligning curricula to the competencies needed in the industry or profession.

How can I collaborate with others to jointly complete a model developed using the online Build a Competency Model Tool?

The CMC Build a Competency Model Tool requires a user to create an account with a username and password. The tool was not designed for multiple users. Only one user can be logged in at a time. However, it is possible to share the log-in information (username and password) with colleagues so that each could provide input in turn.

Is there any way to share the competency models that are developed?

To share models under development or completed using the Build a Competency Model Tool, you may provide colleagues with the username and password information to login to the account.

Do the competency models I develop need to be vetted or approved by ETA?

No. ETA does not have the capacity to review and validate all the competency models developed by individual users. To increase buy-in to your model, we recommend validating the model with your workforce development partners, local community, interested parties, and stakeholders. Models that are national in scope, comprehensively validated by stakeholders, and meet other requirements may be reviewed by ETA for placement on the CMC. Guidelines for inclusion of custom-developed models on the CMC can be found in A Guide for Developing Competency Models.

Can I use the documents I create using the Build a Competency Model Tool in publications?

Yes. The tool is in the public domain and you are free to share any models you create with the tool. However, we do ask that you credit the CMC in your final product in accordance with the CMC's license policy.

Where can I find information about different occupations, like the employment prospects and wages paid?

Information on occupations, including the employment outlook, typical wages, education and experience requirements, and more, can be found on CareerOneStop. Enter an occupation keyword, select a relevant job title, and choose a location to show the job profile. The job profile displays state and national employment trends as well as a job description, associated tasks, and salary/wage information.

Can competency models be used to help identify stackable credentials?

Competency model graphics show the foundation, workplace and technical competency areas required in an industry. The pyramid framework reflects how competencies become more focused and specific as you move from the foundation competencies to broad industry technical competencies, then to occupational specific competencies. The model serves as a framework for linking stackable credentials that workers can obtain to verify that they have attained the various competencies depicted in the model. Career maps can build on that foundation to identify credentials (education certificates, degrees, industry and occupational certifications, and licenses) in the critical developmental experiences required to move laterally or upward in a career.

Does the CMC Web site include information about career ladders/lattices?

Career ladders and lattices, also called career maps, consist of a group of related jobs that may comprise a career. They often include a pictorial representation of job progression in a career as well as detailed descriptions of the jobs and the education and experiences that facilitate movement between jobs. Competency models can be a useful resource for identifying knowledge, skills, and abilities that cut across occupations, allowing for greater career mobility. The Career Map Links page on the CMC web site includes links to examples of career maps from various sectors.

At one time, the CMC included a tool that enabled users to create custom career ladders/lattices; however, that tool is no longer available. If you have questions about the tool or a career ladder/lattice you saved in the tool, contact us at