Teaching and Learning

Employment pathways: Connect students to jobs through learning

As learners complete courses and pathways, they can easily signal career readiness to their current or potential employers, with skills captured in verifiable metadata “baked” in the badges.

The Great Resignation, supply chain disruptions, and shifting labor market demands driven by the Covid-19 pandemic have left many critical industries understaffed and many citizens under-employed. Jones College and the Mississippi Community College Board recognized this, and came together to create the Online Workforce College (OWC), providing professional online training programs that connect adult learners with skills-aligned careers.

A colorful illustration conceptualizes a learner’s path to success, earning badges along the way.

As connecting students to jobs through learning becomes increasingly important, Jones College Director of Online Workforce Training Michael Trest and his team face the challenges head on. Trest and Badgr’s Director of Client Solutions and Partnerships Elizabeth Miller will share their insight during the “Employment pathways: Connect students to Jobs through Learning” session at the League’s 2022 Virtual Innovations Conference happening February 28 — March 3, 2022.

Affordable workforce training

Jones College’s core mission is to reach underserved communities in Mississippi, so the Online Workforce College provides more than 700 affordable, self-paced, skills-aligned courses, with each course providing a shareable digital badge that accurately depicts skills attainment. Earning these micro-credentials — bite-sized qualifications that demonstrate skills, knowledge and/or experience in a specific subject area or capability — paves the way to more meaningful work and enhances professional resilience in a fluctuating labor market.

A path to success

The college’s online accreditation program provides students the chance to continue, or begin, their learning journey remotely while earning full credentials that might otherwise be inaccessible. As learners complete courses and pathways, they can easily signal career readiness to their current or potential employers, with skill captured in verifiable metadata “baked” in the badges.

A colorful illustration depicts a path up a green, triangular mountain to the flagged summit atop. The words “A pathway to success” are reflected below.

These employers can track course and pathway completion for learners, to identify and source talented, well-prepared individuals who have the skills needed to succeed in the role.

Because courses are stacked along branching career pathways aligned to employer-defined job roles, these micro-credentials provide benefits for employers and employees.

Continued success

Potential employers want to know that applicants can succeed on the job. Because open badges are rich in information, sharing proficiency in crossover skills is straightforward and effortless. Of course, credentialing does more than help people keep their skills fresh or reenter the workforce. Proper credentialing provides verifiable crossover skills should one decide to pursue a new career or industry.

As Jones College continues its work within the Badgr platform, staff is steadfast in its mission to expand course selection based on interest and connect with learners who want to change their lives through the power of education.

A woman with mid-length black hair smiles broadly. She wears a white, cable knit sweater. To the left of her face are the words, “Join us.”

Join us

Join us at the League for Innovation in the Community College’s Virtual Innovations Conference happening February 28 — March 3, 2022, to explore how this model could work for your school or system’s workforce development by directly connecting students to jobs through learning, skills alignment, and micro-credentials. Be sure to bring your experience with workforce training, employer relationships and badging to this conversation to earn your own digital badge along a pathway.

Are you interested in building a custom digital badging program or leveling up your existing one? Schedule a discovery call with the Badgr team.

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