Education Design Lab Partners with Leading Credentialing Platform to Help Universities Close the 21st Century Skills Gap

New York, NY: Education Design Lab, a nonprofit that applies design thinking to create new pathways from education to employment, announced the launch of a new partnership with Credly that will designate participating colleges and universities as authorized issuers of nationally-designed digital credentials that recognize workforce-relevant skills.

Education Design Lab utilized university-based pilots to develop a process for assessing, recognizing and badging skills such as collaboration, empathy, and creative problem-solving. “The next step is to bring these credentials to scale, working with an even wider network of institutions and employers to validate early indicators that these credentials provide clearer signals for in-demand skills to the hiring process,” said Kathleen deLaski, founder, and president of Education Design Lab. “Our formalized partnership with Credly will allow institutions to readily issue badges that are aligned to a new national standard, and directly connect to labor market opportunities.”

Through Education Design Lab’s partnership with Credly, select colleges and universities can become authorized issuers of Education Design Lab’s set of 21st Century Skills credentials. The verified recognition of these skills and abilities enable learners to grow their credential profile, discover jobs, and connect to opportunities that value their achievements. Employers can, in turn, identify job applicants with the specific, verified skills needed for their workforce.

“The in-demand skills recognized through this assessment and credential process have traditionally been hard to surface in a verified and consistent manner,” said Jonathan Finkelstein, Founder, and CEO of Credly. “This collaboration is about empowering education institutions, the learners they serve, and companies that seek talent with a better way to match skills that matter in the workplace with individuals who have demonstrated them. It’s about bridging not just the skills gaps but also the communications gaps that exist between education and employers.”

This partnership will fuel the Lab’s next phase of work, #TeeUpTheSkills, which begins with a year-long design challenge. Six learning institutions will work with major employers to provide a leg up for underserved learners seeking their first jobs after graduation. Participation will be free for invited institutions.

Responding to employers’ articulated need for hard-to-quantify leadership, interpersonal, and communication skills, Education Design Lab partnered with a diverse mix of colleges, universities and employers to launch the 21st Century Skills initiative, which is the first program to develop assessed credentials for competencies such as initiative, collaboration, creative problem solving, critical thinking, intercultural fluency, empathy, oral communication and resilience. 

Credly has been a key supporter of the program’s digital credential programs since 2014. With Credly’s digital credential platform, students that receive digital badges from the Education Design Lab will be able to own their credentials, put them to use in real time, and continue to grow their professional profiles with verified resume-worthy achievements as they progress through their careers.