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Digital Credentials Are the Degree of the Future

During the late summer of 2020, when young people would normally be preparing to go back to school, both students, and their parents were watching the news for the latest updates about when or if their schools would be open. It's an issue that has hit K-12 and post-secondary education equally, with school districts, colleges, universities, trade schools, and other institutions of higher learning scrambling to put plans in place that will keep students and teachers safe.

It's not just young people who are feeling the effects of this uncertainty. It's adult learners, too. People who are going back to school, getting advanced degrees, increasing their skills for the jobs of the future.

For post-secondary education, on-campus, full-time, in-classroom learning is not a viable option, at least for the foreseeable future. When this new normal settles in, it brings up more questions than it answers.

1) What will the future of post-secondary education look like?
2) Will people be getting four-year degrees anymore if the on-campus experience isn't part of the value?
3) What is the quality of job applicants that employers will find when this is over?
4) What are young people supposed to do now, while learning is taking a pause?
5) What does it all mean for employers who still need to conduct business?

It seems clear that earning digital credentials can bridge the gap between a person getting a higher education degree and landing their dream job after graduation. Even before the pandemic, many companies were shifting toward skills-based hiring. Now, it's even more crucial for companies to focus on hiring for the skills employees need to get the job done, simply because it will be more difficult for people to get the four-year degrees that employers have used as a benchmark in the past.

How unemployment adds to the mix

Has your company had to lay off or furlough employees during this time? If so, you're not alone. Hardest hit industries include retail and hospitality, but this pandemic and the economic shutdown hit every industry. The numbers speak for themselves. According to Forbes magazine:

•30 million Americans are receiving unemployment benefits. That's 20% of the workers in this country.
•47% of American households have experienced job losses related to the pandemic and believe those jobs won't ever return.
•4.1 million Americans lost jobs in the first and second week of July.

That's is a staggering number of Americans out of work and uncertain if their jobs are going to return. But, our economy will rebound, just like it did after the 2008 recession. Industries will begin hiring again, but what will those jobs look like? That's why, during this time of educational and job upheaval, it makes sense to continue learning and development programs that are accompanied by digital credentials.

For job seekers, it will be a powerful way to ensure they have the most in-demand skills for a post-COVID marketplace. For employers, there are multiple benefits to offering the opportunity to earn digital credentials. If your organization has had to furlough workers and are anticipating hiring them back when the economy picks up again, there's no better time to encourage them to take online courses to beef up their skills. Doing so will keep your furloughed employees feel engaged and part of the team. It will benefit you, and your employees, in the long run, which will make your company stronger as a result.

At Credly, we're dedicated to helping companies upskill through verifiable, digital credentials. Contact us today to learn more.
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