The concept behind the I-CAB Functional Competency Assessment Process was originally conceived by a working group in 2010 comprised of professionals from various industry backgrounds; including the refining of petroleum products, large-scale construction, mining, legal and other related service industries. This group of individuals acquired their working experience in a variety of geographic areas within North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

At the point of inception, the intent of the working group was to provide a methodology that was both reasonably practicable for industry to implement, and that could provide demonstrable benefits in the continual improvement of workforce competency across a variety of disciplines.
After establishing and refining the competency assessment and development process, efforts were made to identify software providers and consultants that could assist in the creation of assessment content and the delivery of assessments using a secure platform.
As the process evolved, so did the needs of the emerging organization. An organizational and technological framework was required that could administer, maintain and develop a tool that could;

  • collect and analyze cumulative competency data,
  • integrate participant ability to establish and track development planning,
  • track and apply to individual and cumulative analytics the effect of regulatory and industry changes to competency expectations, and
  • incorporate input and feedback from the competency community with sufficient quality control.

Although not a consideration at the time of inception, the administrative requirements of the assessment process, the need for numerous experts in each field of competency and the potential for litigation demanded an organizational restructuring that resulted in the organization’s conversion to the not-for-profit I-CAB Foundation in 2013.

The founding working group engrained the following principles into the I-CAB Foundation’s structure at the time of its establishment:

  1. The competency assessment tool was not to be provided as a pre-qualification tool by disallowing comparative metrics between organizations and/or individuals based on competency performance.
  2. The structure of the Foundation would not include a marketing and/or sales budget and the primary function was to provide administrative support to the competency assessment and development process.
  3. The Foundation would work in support of, and not in conflict with, successful not-for-profit industry and government initiatives.

It was at this point that the initial working group was dissolved and an independent Board was established that would oversee the methodology and steward the Foundation. The mission, vision, values and methods of the Foundation can be understood by reviewing the I-CAB Technical Paper. To protect Foundation Board members from potential liability that may result from the day-to-day operational decisions, the Foundation established a separate administrative function to oversee the assessment processes and to make decisions on its use and application using the Technical Paper as guidance.

For reasons of privacy, the names of individuals that took part in the initial working group, that currently sit on the I-CAB Foundation Board or that provide subject matter knowledge, are not published by the Foundation. While their names are not published, the I-CAB Foundation is grateful for the involvement of these individuals, without who the I-CAB Foundation would not be possible.

A breakdown of assessment costs compared to assessment revenues are illustrated below*;


Half of all I-CAB assessment purchases are allocated the to I-CAB Foundation Trust Fund.
The remaining  revenue goes directly to support administration and maintenance costs of private sector implementations.**

Support of Private Sector Implementations is broken down as follows:

  • 40% is directed assessment content development (consisting of content facilitators, contract subject matter expert's and grammatical/administrative services)
  • 30% assessment content maintenance (consisting of contract subject matter expert's and regulatory monitoring services)
  • 25% assessment technology development and maintenance services (an amalgamation of seven independent software providers, one of the providers having ownership that included members of the initial working group)
  • 5% miscellaneous administrative expenses

* details relating to costs and revenues are estimations and can/will change based on operational conditions and technological needs/opportunities
** breakdown does not include specific assessment situations where the content is provided and/or the I-CAB assessment and development process is integrated with other industry organizations activities where a percentage of assessment revenues are provided to the industry organization who create and manage an assessment. This option allows industries and groups to maintain a high level of quality control over the process.

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