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Project Expands Efforts to Develop Micro-Credentials for Hiring

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Nonprofit Education Design Lab is launching a two-year initiative, BadgedToHire, to explore the value of credentials in the hiring process, particularly for underserved learners. The project expands on the Lab's Tee Up the Skills campaign, which "pairs employers with colleges and universities to design micro-credentials that assess and validate 21st-century skills aligned with local hiring demand," according to a news announcement.

For BadgedToHire, the Lab will work with The University of Maine, San Jose State University, Central New Mexico Community College and employer partners to implement badge programs for historically underrepresented learners and "study the awareness and acceptance of digital credentials as a signal for 21st century skills." The hope is that learners who receive the badges will have improved hiring outcomes.  

The three participating institutions have already piloted badges through the Lab's Tee Up the Skills program, and were selected for their ability to "reach a critical mass of historically underserved learner populations, including a significant number of African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, active duty military, veterans and rurally based students," the organization said.

"Today's employers are desperate for applicants with the right combination of technical and mobility skills. In most cases, it's not that employers don't have enough applicants. More often, they lack a clear signal of hard-to-measure skills that lead to long-term employee retention and success," said Kathleen deLaski, founder and president of the Lab, in a statement. "This work is about creating a two-way dialogue that empowers students to display these hard-earned skills in a format that's easily recognizable to employers."

The BadgedToHire project is supported by a grant from the Lumina Foundation. For more information, visit the Education Design Lab site.

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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