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Amid record joblessness, the Open Skills Network launches to champion common, open skills libraries to better connect today’s learners with career opportunities

SALT LAKE CITY–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Open Skills Network (OSN), a coalition of more than 40 employers, educational organizations, and technology providers, today announced the group is working to accelerate a shift to skills-based education and hiring by establishing a network of open skills libraries and skills data. Skills-based education and hiring are widely lauded as a more objective, equitable, and efficient way to connect today’s students with available job opportunities through a shared skills language.

Pre-pandemic, many of the nation’s top employers struggled to find talent whose skills matched their needs. And now, with more than 11 million Americans out of work, experts predict that four in 10 jobs lost will be permanent. In a time of labor market upheaval, it is critical that jobseekers be able to clearly articulate the value they bring to employers, including records of learning and skills attained through academic and work-based experiences.

“We don’t yet know what the long-term effects of COVID-19 will be on our workforce, but we know we can make changes today to better empower today’s students now—helping connect them with life-changing job opportunities,” said Marni Baker Stein, Western Governors University Provost and Chief Academic Officer. “As founding members of the OSN, we’re committed to developing the foundation for a skills-based future, a future in which learners and employers can find each other and connect in real time through a shared language of verified skills.”

Today, skills are developed in a variety of settings: at school, on the job, in the military, and through other settings. Jobseekers rely on a combination of résumés, online profiles, job applications, interviews, and credentials to describe their skills and qualifications. This approach fails to capture the full range of skills that jobseekers gain and can disadvantage low-income and minority applicants. Unconstrained by traditional formats, learners and workers with or without degrees can add skills to Learning and Employment Records (LERs), a type of digital record which can be bundled and transferred across various data systems, potentially improving transitions, increasing mobility, and enabling matching to opportunities.

“Walmart has been pleased to partner with the Open Skills Network, as we collectively lay down a vision for how skills can become a common currency in the US labor market,” said Andy Trainor, Vice President of Learning at Walmart. “We believe that skills-based education and employment practices will bring greater opportunity to learners and workers across the nation, who seek to understand the skills they need to succeed and find jobs that match their skillsets.”

Much of the data needed to support skills-based education and hiring already exists, but this skills data is siloed, not easily accessible, nor machine-actionable, making the switch to skills-based education and hiring an expensive and challenging endeavor for employers and education providers alike. The Open Skills Network will solve this problem by developing a decentralized network of open, machine-actionable skills libraries and data.

Learn more, including how to join the Open Skills Network, at www.openskillsnetwork.org.

About the Open Skills Network

Established in 2020, the Open Skills Network is a group of more than 40 employers, educational organizations, and technology providers dedicated to accelerating the adoption of skills-based education and hiring by establishing a network of open skills libraries and skills data. With coordination from BrightHive, support from Walmart, Western Governors University, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, and building off of the work of Concentric Sky, Credential Engine, Emsi, and others, the Open Skills Network is developing common standards and practices to serve as the infrastructure for widespread skills-based education and hiring practice adoption. Skills-based education and hiring can advance equity, efficiency, and efficacy in job searching and hiring practices. Learn more at www.openskillsnetwork.org.

Contacts

Contact for media inquiries:
Melissa Luke

melissa.luke@wgu.edu
385-428-9813

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