If B.A.’s Can’t Lead Graduates to Jobs, Can Badges Do the Trick?

Employers say they are sick of encountering new college graduates who lack job skills. And colleges are sick of hearing that their young alumni aren’t employable.

Could a new experiment to design employer-approved “badges” leave everyone a little less frustrated?

Employers and a diverse set of more than a half-dozen universities in the Washington area are about to find out, through a project that they hope will become a national model for workplace badges.

The effort builds on the burgeoning national movement for badges and other forms of “micro­credentials.” It also pricks at much broader questions about the purpose and value of a college degree in an era when nearly nine out of 10 students say their top reason for going to college is to get a good job.

The “21st Century Skills Badging Challenge” kicks off with a meeting on Thursday. For the next nine months, teams from the universities, along with employers and outside experts, will try to pinpoint the elements that underlie skills like leadership, effective storytelling, and the entrepreneurial mind-set. They’ll then try to find ways to assess students’ proficiency in those elements and identify outside organizations to validate those skills with badges that carry weight with employers. <Read more.>

Via Goldie Blumenstyk, The Chronicle of Higher Education.