Through #TeeUpTheSkills, we set out to find answers to the question everyone in digital badging is trying to figure out: do badges have market value for employers? Can digital badges level the playing field for underserved and non-networked learners in the hiring process?
We started by learning all that we can about employers’ existing hiring practices. We know the badge can shine in the interview process, where employers can ask how the candidate developed a skill. The problem is those who can benefit most from the digital badge’s proposition are also typically the ones that often struggle to get to the interview stage in the first place. Employers want candidates with 21st century skills, but the traditional resume does not allow for all students to fully tell their story of what they know and are capable of doing, beyond technical skills. Digital badges offer students a way to demonstrate 21st century skills, such as initiative and resilience, that they have developed informally through their lived experiences as first generation students or single parent learners who have learned by necessity to master time management and persistence.
In San Antonio, TX, #TeeUpTheSkills partner Alamo Colleges Online (with support from SA Works) invited a host of area employers to a December convening led by the Lab to introduce our 21st Century Skills Badges. Employers from the following local companies participated: Valero Energy, H.E.B., Accenture Federal, CPS Energy and Caterpillar.
We journey mapped the hiring process—illuminating the possible places where the digital badges could be leveraged to benefit job-seeking students and employers.