Bridging the Gap
Aligning Learner Skills and Competencies with Jobs
Wellspring is a multi-phase project bringing together institutions and corporations to accelerate an education-to-work ecosystem based upon verifiable digital credentials capturing learning achievements and skills to empower individuals to find jobs and help transform the education system as it moves from valuing seat-time to skills. Wellspring is sponsored by IMS Global Learning Consortium and the 1EdTech Foundation with generous support from the Charles Koch Foundation and Walmart.
Providing Equitable and Effective Career Pathway Guidance
Digital records of learning remain isolated in proprietary silos, dramatically less valuable for the learner and worker. Opportunities to advance are being blocked for learners and earners who possess the skills needed for a job, or a better job, but lack the ability to digitally and effectively communicate their verifiable competencies. This problem is solvable through the widespread adoption of open, interoperable standards for learner records in academic and employer-based learning and talent management systems.
This new education-to-work ecosystem, based on interoperable learner records and credentials, will allow individuals to find jobs aligned to their expertise and skills and employers to identify the best talent aligned to essential job roles. Upon completion of all planned phases, project Wellspring will demonstrate:
- Educational institutions documenting academic credentials that align with targeted job positions and follow open standards for data interoperability
- Employers searching to find talent based upon candidates' verifiable digital credentials
- Learners using their verifiable credentials as currency to apply and qualify for jobs in employers’ applicant tracking systems
- Creating Competencies and Skills Frameworks
Wellspring Phase I (2019-2020) successfully focused on educators documenting their Learning Outcomes framework and employers describing their job requirements as Competencies and Skill framework. These complementary frameworks were successfully mapped and linked digitally, using technology tools adhering to the IMS Competencies and Academic Standards Exchange® (CASE®) standard, demonstrating that machine-readable linked data can connect employer talent needs with educational program offerings and ultimately do so through a learner’s credentials. Download the Wellspring Phase I Report to learn more.
Wellspring Phase II (2020-2021) will focus on the following primary goals:
- Develop additional competency frameworks that identify and align the competencies produced by educational programs and required for job roles.
- Conduct primary research on employers’ use of digital credentials in the talent management process.
- Develop software prototypes that demonstrate how skills-aligned digital credentials are created, shared, and consumed to identify talent based on skills and learning achievements.
“Digital credentialing is evolving rapidly. To fulfill its promise, greater cooperation and better communication between educators and employers are needed. The competency frameworks and research at the core of the Wellspring project can help to create a stronger skills ecosystem.”
—Sean Gallagher, Ed.D., Executive Director of the Center for the Future of Higher Education & Talent Strategy, and Executive Professor of Educational Policy at Northeastern University
Participating Organizations in Wellspring Phase II (2020-21)
The following organizations have been selected to participate in Wellspring Phase II:
- Association of Massachusetts Wetland Scientists
- Bismarck State College
- Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis
- Cape Cod Community College
- Cape Cod Mosquito Control
- College Unbound
- Con-Real, LP
- Energy Providers Coalition for Education
- Integrity Web Consulting
- InterHab, Inc.
- Keeley Companies
- Massachusetts Assoc. of Community Health Workers
- Maryville University
- Ohio Alliance of Direct Support Professionals
- Outer Cape Health Services
- Providence Community Health Center
- ResCare Central Kansas
- Rung for Women
- Sedgwick County Developmental Disability Organization
- United Way of Rhode Island
- University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
- University of North Texas
- Wichita State University
- Xcel Energy
These organizations will be working in education-industry cohorts to collaboratively develop competency frameworks that align educational program outcomes with competencies related to specific job roles. The resulting competency frameworks will be published using the IMS CASE Network.
Wellspring II is currently underway but IMS is seeking leading institutions and corporations that have achieved success in innovative partnerships to create more equitable and effective learning and career paths to participate in future phases. IMS and its project partners seek to design and demonstrate the scaling of these successful approaches based on free and open standards to achieve a better experience for learners and the potential to automate the matching of credentials with education and job opportunities across a wider digital ecosystem.
For further information, contact Mark Leuba, IMS Vice President of Product Management, at firstname.lastname@example.org.