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Pilot to Test Effectiveness of Digital Credentials for Colleges and Employers

employer reviewing resume

A national nonprofit focused on education innovation has pulled together a cohort of colleges, universities and companies to test the effectiveness of digital credentials. Education Design Lab said it has accepted seven institutions, each with at least one employer partner, into its first TeeUpTheSkills cohort. These schools serve about 175,000 students in total, and most have a majority percentage of historically underserved populations, including a significant number of African-Americans, Latinx, Native Americans, active duty military, veterans and rurally based students.

The Lab will work with the employer partners to identify the most in-demand 21st century skills for the entry-level jobs they need to fill, and then offer the Lab's 21st Century Skills digital badges to a pilot group of students at each institution.

Participating employers will look at the résumé of any student who earns the badges and provide feedback, so the schools can learn how to better prepare and equip their students with the skills and credentials they need "to be digitally 'discoverable'" by employers.

Digital credential provider Credly and reference checker Checkster will provide their services pro bono to program participants. The pilots will run during the 2018-2019 academic year.

Participating institutions and their employer partners encompass:

"Microcredentials have gained a lot of traction quickly," said Kathleen deLaski, founder and president of the Lab, in a statement. "But to fulfill the promise that they will help students articulate key hire-ability skills and make them digitally visible to employers, we need hiring managers to give us clearer 'market signals' to validate these as credentials. We are very excited that these employers see enough promise to jumpstart this translation process."

"Ultimately it gives both our students and our employer partners the confidence that when a student transitions into the workforce they have the skills they need to meet the employers' business needs," added Luke Dowden, chief online learning officer and associate vice chancellor at Alamo Colleges District.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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