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Digital Promise Project to Promote Equity in Learning and Employment Records

Digital Promise, a nonprofit focused on closing the digital skills gap, is embarking on an effort to design and communicate the value of more equitable Learning and Employment Records (LERs). LERs are "digital records of an individual's skills, credentials, diplomas, and employment history that have the potential to strengthen or reinvent resumes by including verifiable data about achievements in real time," the organization explained in a news announcement.

While LERs can "better connect workers to available jobs in today's changing economy," Digital Promise pointed out, they can also "reflect and produce existing biases in the talent pipeline" if they are designed without the inclusion under-represented people — particularly entry-level workers in the Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities. "We want to make sure that people who are historically left out of opportunities know about this technology, understand the value of it, and can use it to better navigate education and workforce systems," said Digital Promise President and CEO Jean-Claude Brizard, in a statement. "When the needs of those who are most marginalized are centered in the design, the resulting solutions benefit everyone."

Supported by funding from Walmart, Digital Promise will collaborate with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's T3 Innovation Network to create design principles and use cases based on LER pilots from across the country, taking into account the "lived experiences, interests, and challenges of BIPOC frontline workers." It plans to share the results widely to "communicate the value of LERs as a tool for greater equity.

"The T3 Innovation Network is working with stakeholders to support the digital transformation of the talent marketplace where all learning counts, skills become like currency, and workers and learners are empowered with data," commented Jason Tyszko, vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. "LERs provide a unique opportunity to test how this new data infrastructure can help produce better learning and employment outcomes for individuals, but it must be done with their direct input and support."

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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