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New York City’s Largest Public-Sector Union Launches Digital Badges

District Council 37 (DC 37), New York City’s largest public-sector labor union announced a new initiative to help its 127,000 members track professional credentials and skills development, and match them with career pathways. The membership of DC 37 covers over 1,000 different job titles including the city’s engineers, social workers, and education support staff to name a few. Through a partnership with New York City-based digital credential platform Credly, DC 37 will issue digital badges, making it easier for members to demonstrate their skills, qualify for pay raises, and connect to new job opportunities.

Building on DC 37’s existing education and workforce training programs that provide city workers with basic job skills, technical training, and leadership development, DC 37 will use Credly digital badges to recognize members’ knowledge and competencies, as well as clearly outline the necessary skills for a member to advance in their chosen field. Digital badges will provide a streamlined way for partnering colleges and government agencies to collaborate on training and identify skills gaps before they become critical.

The DC 37 Education Fund (EdFund) manages training and workforce development on behalf of the union, and has helped make it possible for thousands of DC 37 members to improve their foundational skills, technical competencies, and leadership capacity. In 2017, the EdFund received a grant from the Workforce Development Institute to launch the digital badge initiative.

“DC 37 remains committed to providing important education benefits to our members so they may further develop their skills and professional certifications while creating opportunities for pay raises and promotions,” said Henry Garrido, Executive Director of District Council 37. “Issuing digital badges to our members in collaboration with training partners and CUNY colleges is one way we will work with the City of New York to recognize our members’ achievements in career advancement.”

“DC 37 members are responsible for keeping New York City safe, educated, healthy, and working, which requires a continuously changing set of knowledge and skills in a rapidly evolving technological landscape. At EdFund, we have a responsibility to both DC 37 members and the city to provide a streamlined way for city workers to get the training they need,” said Diallo Shabazz, Chief Administrator at the DC 37 Education Fund. “By partnering with Credly, we will be able to offer a scalable solution that tracks skills development and credentialing for thousands of workers, while empowering members to share digital badges across platforms to showcase their talent to partnering agencies and employers.”

Credly’s digital platform allows organizations to distribute and manage portable and secure digital credentials, providing both individuals and institutions with access to machine-readable, verified credentials that demonstrate skills and competencies.

“As a company based in Manhattan, it is with an extra amount of pride that we announce our partnership with DC 37,” said Jonathan Finkelstein, Founder and CEO of Credly. “We see the incredible work of city employees every day and are excited that Credly's digital credential platform will play a part helping them more easily get the recognition they deserve.”

DC 37’s digital badge program launched on June 20, 2018.