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Partner: American Workforce Policy Advisory Board

Category: Workforce Development

Learning and Employment Records Enable Skills-based Hiring at Scale

Now, more than ever, the United States labor market and everyday Americans face greater challenges signaling and authenticating their achievements and skills in real time.

Every individual lifelong learning journey is unique.

Learning gains are made through traditional and non-traditional school experiences, on the job, volunteer opportunities, or military service, among a growing number of other professional development and learning opportunities. As learners progress towards their learning and achievement goals, these experiences must be recognized and unlock new and meaningful opportunities.

Now, more than ever, the United States labor market and everyday Americans face significant challenges cataloging, signaling, and authenticating their achievements and skills in real-time.

In the past, resumes and digital transcripts have helped students, workers, and job seekers keep track of their learning experiences. However, keeping these static documents up to date, accurate, and verifiable is a constant challenge for learners and institutions in the 21st-century job market. Furthermore, many of these fixed documents do not provide employers with a high-resolution view of an applicant’s skills or demonstrated competencies. To facilitate the connection between learning experiences and career opportunities, two of the world’s largest employers leveraged Badgr technology to help them bridge the gap.

A National Call to Action

By Executive Order, The National Council for the American Worker formed in July of 2018 to reenvision the talent pipeline, empower American workers, and address this growing economic challenge.

Under the National Council for the American worker, The American Workforce Policy Advisory Board (AWPAB) was established under section 3 of the executive order. This group consists of 23 members, including Walmart, Salesforce, and Western Governors University.

The goal of the AWPAB is to share expertise and create proofs-of-concept in service to a three-pronged, national call to action:

→ Expedite American workers’ return to employment and upward mobility by investing in career pathways and implementing skills-based hiring practices

→ Remove obstacles to the modernization of American education and training to accelerate reskilling and facilitate innovation in workforce development

→ Build the technological infrastructure necessary for the future of work

Learner Employment Records Address 21st Century Labor Market Challenges

The AWPAB mobilized around the idea of a Learner Employment Record, or “LER” to address the national call to action. An LER is a digital space where all learning and skills are brought together into one easily accessible, secure, and verifiable source of truth. When applied, LER’s seamlessly record, verify, transmit, and interpret critical skills and competencies between learners, job seekers, employers, and institutions. When combined with Badgr, A high-resolution, visually intuitive landscape of learning emerges.

Video: Introduction to Learning and Employment Records, via the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

Benefits of a Learning and Employment Record

A Learning and Employment Record will benefit stakeholders in many different ways and helps to level the playing field for individuals, employers, and the overall labor market.

How does an LER benefit learners?

A Learning and Employment Record help learners assemble all of their learning records in one place, where they have ownership and control over those records. Since these records are gathered in one location, it’s easy for learners to organize and share their growing skills and competencies with outside stakeholders, like employers or higher education institutions.

How does an LER benefit employers?

For an employer, looking for a well-qualified candidate can sometimes feel like finding a needle in a haystack. Learning and Employment Records simplify talent acquisition by equipping employers with a skills-aligned lens to inform their search. Employers can use an LER to identify the best candidate for an open role or connect existing employees with upskilling or reskilling programs within their organization.

How does an LER benefit labor markets?

Factors such as globalization, artificial intelligence, outsourcing, and technological innovation have caused the labor market to change over the past 25 years. For many workers and employers - this turbulence has been challenging to navigate. Learning and Employment Records help strengthen and grow labor markets by leveling the playing field and recognizing learning outcomes, whether they occur on the job or in academic settings.

Image: Learning and Employment Records ecosystem diagram
For SR

LER Pilot Program Showcase

In September of 2020, three members of the AWPAB unveiled their LER pilots. Two of these groups, Walmart and Salesforce, enlisted Badgr to help develop pilot solutions that could empower over 2,000,000 workers.

The Walmart Academy App: A Pathway to Success

Within the United States, Walmart employs over 1.5 million workers across more than 5,000 locations and understands that investing in employee reskilling and upskilling progress is critical for their success. Walmart also promotes more than 200,000 workers every year within the U.S., and three-quarters of its managers started as hourly associates.

Annually, Walmart spends billions of dollars on training, including the Live Better U program, which offers employees the ability to earn their high school diploma or college degree for $1 per day.

Managing and investing in such a massive workforce demands systems that can track workers’ skills and achievements. Working collaboratively with Workday, Western Governors University, and LinkedIn, Walmart’s LER pilot creates a scalable proof-of-concept that connects universities, employers, and recruitment platforms while streamlining the learning and employment process.

“…in the background, the system maintains metadata of all the skills required to earn the badge. This information is vital to our ability to share credentials. The badge information and metadata from the Badgr platform informs the Open Badges 2.0 Framework and open skills stack-aligned guidance to assure that it’s machine-readable and interoperable with external parties.” - Andy Trainor, VP Walmart, U.S. Learning

Video: Walmart Learning and Employment Record Proof of Concept via the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board.

Increasing Opportunity at Scale

Walmart’s interoperable mobile learning pilot gives each employee the tools they need to connect, collect, and showcase their on-the-job learning experiences. From their profile page, associates can see all of their awarded and in-progress badges in one glance. They can explore the badge library and discover new learning opportunities that populate automatically based on their learning journey.

Each digital badge in the Academy app represents a singular skill or competency and maps to multiple “micro-learnings” using Badgr Pathways.

From the digital badge detail page, learners can also see the competency definition, requisite micro-learnings, and a visual guide to help them track their progress. As the associate engages in learning opportunities, the system automatically tracks their progress and makes it easy for each learner to pick up where they left off.

Micro-learnings, Macro-rewards

Each digital badge includes multiple micro-learnings that are designed to be mobile-friendly, quick, and targeted to the associate for on-the-floor learning. After an associate completes a learning experience, the system automatically sends a notification to the associate supervisor to let them know that they are ready for skills validation assessment.

From the associate’s supervisor’s perspective, the Walmart Academy App compiles a complete record of the associate’s learning achievements into a helpful reporting page, giving supervisors the ability to verify and validate associate progress in real-time. After the supervisor has completed their review, the associate receives a notification letting them know that they have earned a badge, and the achievement automatically appears in the awarded section of their profile. Once awarded, the associate can securely share badges to platforms like Workday’s WayTo and LinkedIn to showcase their new skills and access new opportunities.

Walmart’s Badgr-powered solution assembles a high-resolution image of learning and achievement across the organization. This year at ASU+GSV, Walmart announced an expansion of this pilot to include their 1.5 million employees and 5,000 stores nationwide.

Creating a Trusted Skills Network for Accelerated Healthcare Hiring and Onboarding

Mark Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, introduced a Badgr-powered solution to the AWPAB, which seeks to streamline the job searching and hiring process for approximately 2.2 million healthcare professionals.

Working collaboratively with Dignity Health Global Education, Mercy College, Western Governors University, and Robots & Pencils, this pilot addresses the hiring and job searching friction experienced by healthcare workers. With an average cost of $4,129 per hire, administrative tasks slow the hiring process and can sometimes affect patient care.

Addressing these issues through a unified certification and professional credentialing system can help healthcare workers find new opportunities and remove unnecessary burdens associated with maintaining up-to-date certification portfolios.

“With our partner, Badgr, and following LER and Open Badge standards, we created credentials that are easily shareable and independently verifiable. With Dignity Health Global Education we reimagined what a nurse’s educational and job search experience can look like. And with the great help of Western Governors University we were able to distill the real-world value that learner and employer records can create for nurses.” - Adam Caplan, SVP Emerging Technology at Salesforce

Video: Learning and Employment Record - Salesforce Altra Demo via the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board.

Welcome to Altra

The Salesforce team unveiled Altra, a learning and hiring solution designed to help healthcare professionals capture and manage all of their learning experiences, skills, and credentials in one place. Once added, nurses like Pepper Card can share their experiences and learning progress with their employer or trusted third parties.

Altra is based on open technology and uses skills as a rosetta stone for connecting recognition with opportunity. Every time a new certification, credential, or skill is added, Altra uses that information to make recommendations about new job and training opportunities. Having everything in one place streamlines the career search for recruiters, helps connect healthcare professionals with new opportunities, and effectively lowers the cost of these historically expensive and necessary actions for everyone involved.

A Shared Language of Skills

America must prepare for the 21st-century economy and the emerging industries of the future. Organizations like Walmart and Salesforce are leveraging Learning and Employment Records to help learners connect their growing skillset with new and exciting opportunities while enjoying many of the cost-saving benefits that this approach yields. Badgr is proud to support these innovative pioneers in service to a strong resurgence of the United States economy and the empowerment of individuals and communities across the country.