How might we capture learning beyond the traditional transcript in ways that are meaningful to employers?
Join the Challenge alongside universities, employers, and tech providers
90% of business leaders report that new employees don’t have these critical 21st century skills.
College graduates, whose Bachelor’s degree once served as a trusted signal for these skills, are struggling to get hired. They often lack awareness of these skills and have had limited experiences that allow for the intentional acquisition and practice of them.
What if colleges and universities provided ways for you to practice these skills over time? What if you could validate your strengths across these skills? What if you were able to show an employer you have been working on developing these skills?
What if employers could screen for candidates who earned 21st century skill digital badges?
21st Century Skills Badges
This year, the Lab is working with a cohort of national and international colleges and universities to complete our suite of 21st century skills digital badges. While the badges are customized to each institution’s resources and learner population, the suite of badges share important criteria and components—standards which arose out of research and co-design sessions with schools, students, and employers.
Research shows that standard hiring signals such as GPA and “brand institution” correlate poorly with 21st century skills, so these badges could open up the opportunity door for underserved students who lack networks or degrees from nationally recognized colleges.
To learn more about the criteria and components of 21st Century Skills Badges, click here.
Our Vision & Next Phase of Work
Intentional Skill Building within the University and Beyond
We see the need for a precise skills-based hiring ecosystem and “translation process” that allows for intentional alignment between employer needs and a learner’s current 21st century and technical skills profile.
How might we bridge the skills language gap between institutions, students, and hiring managers? What might a translation system look like? The images above show one expression of a “universal skills” translation system, using the T-shaped learner as the model
To get there, we will continue our work with employers, testing the efficacy of the digital badges and understanding how the digital badges can be a valuable signal at all stages of the hiring process. We will go deeper with existing and new university partners who see an opportunity to use our 21st century skills framework to take an existing program or department’s work to the next level. By mapping programming to our 21st century skill sub-competencies and incorporating assessments that can measure growth and serve as developmental tools, the student experience can be more engaging, intentional, and transformational rather than transactional.
Working across the school-to-work pipeline, the Lab is constantly reminded of the need to question whether the current multi-faceted ecosystem that links learners, institutions and employers can support changing educational models, an emerging set of credentials (e.g., digital badges) and employer needs.
Interested in learning more?
Bay Path University
George Mason University
Tunis Business School
University of Arizona
University of Virginia
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