Workforce credentials are going digital. Here’s why it helps everyone
How do digital credentials fit into a rapidly changing workforce? Two experts intervene.
How ready are university graduates for the real world of work? It depends who you ask. According to a report, 96% of university leaders believe they are doing a good job preparing young people for the job market, but nearly 80% of employers disagree.
The good news is that there may be a way to bring those numbers together: digital credentials.
“Digital IDs provide all students with a vocabulary, usability, and utility that not only allows them to say, ‘Hey, look at my digital ID portfolio,’ but also to gain insight into the skills and abilities that ‘they own,’ says Brian LaDuca, Director of IACT, University of Dayton. “By reviewing digital credentials, employers can see the concrete steps students have taken to build skills and close gaps.”
This is one of the reasons digital IDs are on the rise, and not just for young people entering the workforce. In fact, Danny King, CEO and co-founder of Accredible, believes that today digital credentials have gone from a must-have to a necessity for employers and employees. “Digital certification can now be an invaluable tool for the corporate world and the education system to retrain, upskill and facilitate career change – it’s a crucial tool for success.”
No more paper trail
Traditionally, credentials existed in the form of a certificate or paper transcript. This all falls apart as our culture continues to digitalize. “As society at large continues to slowly shift from paper to digital, accreditation is no different,” says Danny King, CEO and co-founder of Accredible. “Paper credentials are now flawed and difficult to verify, causing headaches for businesses and employees.”
LaDuca echoes that perspective: “Hiring managers are finding that some of these most common credentials lack the accessibility and verification required in the digital age,” he says. “Companies need to make sure students know what they say they know.”
That’s why LaDuca argues that digital IDs aim to be the currency for skills in today’s employer environment. “They are a modern element of learning and development with the in-depth checks that a paper certification cannot provide,” he says. Filled with data and accessible in multiple contexts, digital IDs provide a sharable and verifiable way to tell the story of an individual’s skills, especially for hiring managers.
Bridging the school-work gap
Universities and employers are clearly divided on preparing college graduates for the job market. Part of the reason, according to LaDuca, is simply the lack of shared vocabulary. “Our students had powerful experiences in the classroom, but when they had an interview or even a work situation, they struggled to translate their skills and what they had learned into the language of the job,” says -he. “We’ve integrated tools like Credly to help bridge the communication gap between students and employers.”
At the University of Dayton, Credly helps students and employers start speaking a common language when it comes to workforce-ready skills and knowledge. Digital degrees can also be very useful to universities by highlighting the sub-skills students are looking for. “This data can help universities reassess and restructure programs to meet the needs of their students and employers,” LaDuca said.
Not just for young workers
Of course, digital degrees aren’t just for college grads launching their careers. They are also integral to verifying that the existing workforce has the right skills. “The rapid integration of technology and automation into the workplace has created a massive need for retraining and certification programs,” says King. “Digital credentials provide businesses and workers with the tools to create tailored, comprehensive programs that accomplish this.”
And the benefits are mutual. “For employers, the benefits of implementing accreditation programs are immense, whether it’s communicating the options available, boosting productivity in the workplace, or retaining talent, and beyond,” King says. “On the other hand, employees now receive personalized and unique credentials to help prove their professional experience and skills and accelerate their career development.”
A learning and development asset
In the new workplace focused on learning and development, digital IDs are a natural choice. “Workers’ expectations of their employers are higher than ever,” says King. “Employees expect, and often demand, to be well trained and prepared to do their jobs effectively. With these increased needs, it is incumbent on companies to meet worker expectations and provide adequate training and accessibility to lifelong learning.
“The math for companies is simple: if they don’t offer these things, it’s quite possible that other organizations will, and it threatens their ability to retain and hire qualified talent.”
Solve blind spots
Today, students can choose many different paths within the vast education and training ecosystem: two-year degrees, four-year degrees, graduate degrees, stackable certificates, certifications, and university licenses. industry and microcredits, to name a few. And now, digital credentials can create a complete picture of their education, experience, and professional skills.
As digital credentials become more commonplace, LaDuca thinks there’s plenty of room for improvement. “We would like to see a world where, rather than pitting digital IDs against others, we can show how these IDs are synergistic and integrated to provide students with the best possible educational path and prepare them for success in the job market. .”
King agrees that a hybrid between digital accreditation and other training programs is ideal. “Educational institutions should not view digital credentials as a threat,” he said. “Instead, digital degrees can help augment traditional education models by giving students more options for furthering their education.”
Like everything else in the workplace, digital IDs are evolving to keep pace with real-time needs. Embracing the shared language and easy auditability of digital credentials creates common ground between businesses and contributors, and it’s a win for everyone.