Alabama Talent Triad Supported by Walmart

Verified credential wallet, built by the State of Alabama, will connect the nexus between employers, jobseekers, and learning providers.

Alabama’s work to build interoperable digital credential wallets will support the nexus between employers, jobseekers, and learning providers, making it easier for the Alabamian workforce to connect to careers. The Talent Triad building the digital wallets has received grant support from Walmart to further expand efforts.

Credential wallets show learning and employment data earned through education, workforce, and other experiences that taught a learner skills, knowledge, or competencies. The wallet is owned and shared by the individual learner.

Through this grant, the Competency-Based Education Network (C-BEN) will support the Alabama Talent Triad to scale across the state. C-BEN will assist in ushering in competencies as the currency of the Talent Triad by assisting users to implement competency-based solutions, including education institutions and employers as they use the wallet for skills-based hiring. Powered by EBSCO digital wallets and algorithms that can identify matches between job seekers and skills-based job descriptions, the Alabama Talent Triad will ultimately bring forth a talent marketplace where all learning counts and can be used for mobility and new career opportunities.

“As Governor of Alabama, I want to see continued economic growth for all Alabamians,” stated Governor Kay Ivey. “In particular, this grant will help us develop regional collaborations both within and across state lines. I also want to thank the Competency-Based Education Network for their thought leadership, collaboration, and willingness to support all stakeholders in the Talent Triad to accomplish our goals.”

There is a growing need for learning records that move beyond transcripts and resumes. Data from the Society for Human Resource Management found that the average time for employers to fill a position is 36 days at an average cost per hire of $4,425. Further, HR professionals use proxies like degrees or universities with well-known reputations to screen qualified candidates. However, these proxies often do not account for non-traditional ways learners gain skills, including through the military, on-the-job training, and other types of formal and informal learning. With the current system, learners cannot demonstrate their full skillset, making it difficult for employers to most efficiently find the right candidate.

To resolve this issue, Alabama is building three technology solutions, called the Alabama Talent Triad. The Alabama Talent Triad will create easy, accessible, and transparent ways for Alabamians, education and training providers, and employers to connect.

The first part of the Talent Triad is the Alabama Credential Registry, which will make each credential awarded to Alabamians transparent, tagging credentials to the competencies for which they denote mastery. The second part, the Skills-Based Job Description Generator, will allow employers to create customized job descriptions based on the competencies future employees will need to demonstrate on the job. The third part of the Talent Triad, the Learning and Employment Record (LER), will allow job seekers to link directly to skills-based job descriptions generated by employers.

The three data sets of the Talent Triad will come together in a single-sign-on portal with a unique user interface for employers, jobseekers, and education and training providers. Every Alabamian, whether a jobseeker, educator, or employer, will have access to the portal.

“Finding solutions to connect skilled workers with much needed jobs is at the heart of the Talent Triad,” said Sean Murphy, Director of Opportunity, Walmart. “C-BEN and the state of Alabama are building an impressive partnership focused on equipping people, employers and training providers with the underlying technology needed to connect the jobs of today and tomorrow with Alabamians. Walmart is proud to support this work and is excited at the project’s potential to be adopted by other states.”

Key to the success of the Talent Triad is the technology’s interoperability. Interoperability refers to the ability of a system to exchange and use education and workforce information from other systems without special effort on the part of the user. As such, Alabama is prioritizing the adoption and demonstration of interoperability principles with digital credential providers.

As an Alabama-based company, EBSCO is proud to play a key role in operationalizing the goals and objectives of the Alabama Talent Triad. “The talent marketplace of the future will utilize competencies and skills as the key currencies for entrance into a new job, as well as in supporting upward mobility of one’s career,” stated Greg DiDonato, Vice President of Corporate, Government & Military Sales. “Through this collaboration with the State of Alabama and C-BEN, EBSCO looks forward to sharing our interoperability principles while ensuring equity of access to, and the growth of, this first-in-the-nation talent marketplace project.”

Alabama hopes their efforts can be replicated across the country, creating a blueprint for other states that may wish to use interoperability principles to create an open-linked data talent marketplace portal. The blueprint will include a full picture of how existing open-linked data and standards from job descriptions, Credential Engine, competency/skills data, LERs, and digital wallets come together to help employees and employers alike. The ultimate goal is for inter-state collaboration to build a distributed, interoperable, skills-based system that can be replicated.

“Alabama’s efforts are part of a growing movement toward interoperability, LERs, and, ultimately, competency-based education,” stated C-BEN Executive Vice President Dr. Amber Garrison Duncan. “We are seeing states across the country coalesce behind CBE, and Alabama’s work is another step forward in making competency the currency of education and employment.”

About the Competency-Based Education Network (C-BEN)

C-BEN is a network of institutions, employers, and experts who believe competencies can unlock the future of learning — making education and training more flexible, responsive, and valuable. We support stakeholders across the spectrum of competency-based learning, from institutions and employers who want to embed competencies into their existing programs to those looking to design full competency-based degree programs from the ground up. For more information, visit C-BEN.org

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