How might employers + educators come together to translate learning into workforce skills?

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Tee Up the Skills

In the Fall of 2018, the Education Design Lab (Lab), launched Tee Up the Skills with seven two- and four-year colleges and universities across the U.S. The year-long pilot paired each school with at least one employer partner to understand how the Lab’s 21st Century Skills Digital Badges could improve students’ career readiness and serve as valuable signals for entry-level hiring. This paper outlines key milestones, tools and learnings from one year of testing with the Tee Up cohort.


Over the 2018-2019 academic year, the Lab selected seven learning institutions and their employer partner(s) to issue the Lab's 21st Century Skills Badges, seeking to test the efficacy of the badges in a hiring process.

The employer partners have agreed to look at the resumés of any student who applies to their company with at least one of the Lab’s eight badges. Tracking both students and employers through this college-to-career process will allow us to see to what extent digital badges can level the playing field in hiring and provide valuable insight into the interoperability of emerging credentials with today’s hiring tools and practices.


Education Design Lab is a nonprofit that designs, tests, and implements unique higher education models and credentials that address the rapidly changing economy and emerging technology opportunities. The Lab demonstrates where technology, rigor and design can improve opportunity for historically underserved students to maximize their potential in the higher education system.


A Job Formation + Translation Tool

The T-Profile is a visual construct of both the ideal combination of technical skills and the 21st century skills associated with a particular job. It can be used as an alternative or complement to a wordy job description, as a way for a prospective candidate to understand how their skills "match" with those of the position, or even as a way for prospective candidates to develop and display their skills.

The 2018-19 Cohort

The cohort institutions serve 175,000 students in total. Most of the institutions serve a majority percentage of historically underserved populations, including a significant number of African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, active duty military, veterans and rurally-based students.

  1. San Jose State University
  2. Central New Mexico Community College
  3. Alamo Colleges District
  4. American Public University System
  5. University at Albany- State University of New York
  6. University of Maine
  7. Langston University 
  1. H.E.B.
  2. Accenture
  3. FDM Group
  4. TLC Plumbing
  5. Jaynes Corporation
  6. Ernst & Young
  7. Enterprise
  8. Cisco Systems
  9. Bangor Savings Bank
  10. Northern Light Health
  11. ONEOK


What We're Learning from Employers

At the onset of the 2018-19 cohort, the Lab conducted a survey of employers to glean a better understanding of employers' perspective on credentialing, as well as their needs for hiring entry-level employees.


In the News

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Inside Look

About the Lab's 21st Century Skills Badges
University of Maine discusses their participation in #TeeUp
A #TeeUp Employer Partner, Northern Lights Health, on how Hiring is Changing
Want to Introduce Your Students to #TeeUp?

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