Our movement is committed to making competencies the future of learning: making education and training more flexible, responsive, and valuable for all learners.
April saw a number of announcements and achievements from supporting Native American economic advancement to driving skill-based hiring in Alabama that showcase the opportunity and power of CBE to enhance access, equity and career outcomes for historically under-resourced communities.
C-BEN is privileged to be working with the Navajo Nation and Aspire Ability to promote tribal economic mobility and self-determination. On April 13th, we announced our partnership to build The Navajo Nation Talent Marketplace, a unique ecosystem of Navajo job seekers, employers, and education providers. For the first time ever, the Navajo Nation will have a central repository of all the jobs available on the reservation both in-person and remotely. The new marketplace identifies the job skills required, and offers postsecondary programs aligned to employer needs. We were excited to learn that PR Newswire featured the announcement in This Week in People & Culture News: 9 Stories You Need to See. Ramona Schindelheim on WorkingNation’s Work in Progress podcast interviewed Moroni Benally, head of public policy and partnerships at Aspire Ability and Amber Garrison Duncan, C-BEN’s executive vice president, about this unique initiative. Moroni, a member of the Navajo Nation, underscored the importance of the talent marketplace: “It’s a critical step in our nation’s long-term efforts to offer all Navajo — from our 3,500 yearly high school graduates to those who moved away — access to credentials that tie to well paid jobs within the nation.”
Later in April, C-BEN attended the 2023 ASU+GSV Summit, whose vision for the future was articulated as “imagining a new era in which ALL people have equal access to the future.” Against this backdrop, skills were a major topic of discussion including skills-based hiring and the criticality of Learning and Employment Records (LER). The debate on assessing what a person knows and can do, rather than simply using a degree as the proxy, aligns perfectly with the power of CBE. Amber Garrison Duncan,, participated in the summit and was featured in The Job newsletter. Amber spoke about the pivotal role employers play in adopting competencies as valid and authentic assessments of a jobseeker’s knowledge, skills and abilities. To that point, she highlighted C-BEN’s role in supporting Alabama’s Talent Triad, where the state is piloting a skills-based system using competencies to better connect employers, jobseekers, and learning providers in the manufacturing and healthcare sectors.
In another step forward for CBE during April, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Educational Testing Service (ETS) are partnering to develop tools that evaluate competency-based learning. The announcement indicates the growing support for embracing CBE as a more effective way to assess a student’s skills than the credit hour. In an Inside Higher Ed article, Charla Long, C-BEN’s president, lauded the involvement of two high-profile organizations in advancing competency-based assessment and highlighted their opportunity to build upon the other CBE initiatives underway nationwide: “Them getting into this will be game-changing. We just want it to be informed by the great innovations that are already underway.”