Nation's Colleges and Universities Tap Digital Credential Pioneer to Translate On-the-job Training Experiences into Skills, College Credit

    March 12, 2024
    2 min read
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    Credly and the American Council on Education (ACE) today announced a new initiative designed to enable the recognition of learning and skill-development, regardless of where it occurs, using portable digital credentials. Funded through a $1.5 million grant from Lumina Foundation, the effort responds to growing employer demand for better evidence of skills and competencies among both job-seekers and current employees.

    The grant will fund the creation of a scalable process to record the outcomes of training programs as discrete competencies, and provide individuals with access to portable, digital, verified credentials. It will also support the creation of a machine-readable official "transcript" of on-the-job skills that can be easily shared with colleges and universities for academic credit, or with current and future employers as a verified résumé of one's knowledge, skills and abilities.

    By enabling individuals to earn and transfer credit from both on-the-job and classroom learning, the initiative will enable individuals to create and share a more complete representation of what they know and can do. Employers, in turn, can utilize more granular insights into job-seeker or employee capabilities to maximize investments in employee education and training, reducing costly churn.

    "ACE recognized the powerful interplay between learning that happens on the job and the transformative potential of more formal learning experiences when it launched the College Credit Recommendation Service (CREDIT) more than 40 years ago," said Ted Mitchell, President of ACE. "This investment in digital credentials is about creating a new language for the labor market. We're fostering collaborations between employers and institutions that reflect the reality of today's adult learners, and our shared responsibility in creating more seamless pathways from employment to education, and economic opportunity."

    As the major coordinating body for the nation's colleges and universities, ACE will leverage their decades of expertise in evaluating the creditworthiness of workplace learning to support employers and employees eager to understand how their workplace training translates to academic credit, and what can be included on the knowledge profile for purposes of both higher education and the job application process.

    "We know that only a fraction of learning occurs in a traditional education setting," said Jonathan Finkelstein, Founder and CEO of Credly. "On-the-job learning, like school-based learning, needs to be translated into a data-rich format that can be read by both college admissions systems and the recruiting and talent management systems that large employer organizations rely upon. This is also about employers creating cultures of achievement and recognition to attract and retain mobile employees and about providing learners with portable tools to track and share what they know and what they can do."

    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 valuable skills and competencies.

    Danette Howard, Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer at Lumina Foundation said, "We know that 70% of students are working, gaining valuable competencies that can lead them to a credential. By making it easier for learners to have a record of their verified competencies, adult learners will have a clearer pathway to a postsecondary credential, one that will take less time and cost less money."

    More information about the initiative is available at

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