Badges: Alternate Qualifications for Employment
David Wiley receives grant to contribute to skill-certification initiative
Dr. David Wiley, professor in the Department of Instructional Psychology and Technology (IP&T), in partnership with the National Manufacturing Institute, recently received a $150,000 grant from the McArthur Foundation to create job skill credentials, called badges, for those seeking employment in manufacturing and related industries. With the funding from the grant, Wiley will develop, refine, and extend the influence of badges, which provide improved recognition for critical skills learned without completing an institutional degree.
Many in the workforce face the challenge of proving the knowledge and skills they have acquired independent of formal schools and universities. Until recently, paper certificates were the primary method of verifying skills and capabilities. However, paper certificates are easily fabricated and are difficult to display in a digital resume.
Badges frequently provide a more visual and verifiable form of credentials. Someone who gains specific knowledge or develops a skill from a non-degree training program can be issued a digital badge that is displayed as an icon on his or her digital resume. Any third party who clicks on the badge is connected to embedded information that verifies badge validity. Additionally, the badge can also connect third parties to an image or document that displays the actual work product produced by the badge-recipient in the process of earning the badge.
According to Wiley, badges will be influential in better matching workers with employers. “On an employment website run by our partner, the National Manufacturing Institute, there are over 3.5 million current job openings that they want filled with qualified workers,” said Wiley. “Being able to search for potential employees with the right badges will make it easier for prospective employers to find the talent they need.”
While the badge certification initiative is just beginning, Wiley hopes that with the funding from the McArthur Foundation he and his team will be able to illustrate the potential of badges to help workers qualify for jobs. “Our goal is by next summer to show a list of profiles of people who didn’t have a job, went to one of these after-school or community programs, earned badges, and used those badges to get a job,” said Wiley.
For more information on badges visit https://wiki.mozilla.org/Badges.
August 29, 2012