Deborah Everhart, Chief Strategy Officer for Credential Engine, recently sat for an interview with Velocity Network Foundation, an organization creating the internet of careers—a network of verified and trusted career credentials appropriate for the digital age. Everhart discusses the challenges Credential Engine is helping to address, the importance of bringing transparency to credentials, the shift to skills-based hiring, how Credential Engine aligns with Velocity Network, and her outlook for the near future pulling from her extensive experience in this field. Key takeaways are provided below.
The Challenges Credential Engine is Addressing
Current education and employment systems treat degrees as currency through which to get a job, but these systems are loaded with assumptions. There are different ways of describing what skills come with different degrees. Employers make assumptions about the quality of degrees and candidates’ abilities based on the issuing institution. Not to mention that degrees are no longer the only means to acquire valuable skills, nor are colleges and universities the only viable providers; which further opens the door for assumptions and bias towards the skills and preparation conferred by credentials.
These assumptions and biases feed into systems of inequity, and “become a self-fulfilling prophecy that people who have degrees get jobs”, Everhart states. “We really have to break that down so that we can see what’s inside those degree credentials—what’s inside all credentials.” She continues, “As an industry, we need to make sure that all of the details about these different types of credentials, from different institutions, are fully transparent so that we’re not having to make these assumptions. With transparency, you can actually inspect those details and make better, well-informed decisions.”
Through linked open data, Credential Engine is addressing these challenges and creating credential transparency to empower everyone to make better informed decisions about credentials and their value. Linked open data connects the different pieces of information that feed into a credential—for example the type of credential, provider, skills, and so on—to increase literacy behind what a credential means, and help build clearer pathways through education and into careers.
Are We Ready for Skills-Based Hiring? Not Without First Increasing Transparency
Skills-based hiring can bring many benefits to the employment landscape. But we can’t get there without first increasing transparency. With skills-based hiring, “Employers would have a much larger talent pool”, states Everhart. “They would also get a better match between the job they’re trying to fill and the person they select to fill that position if they had transparency around the skills.”
There are many challenges in the current marketplace for credentials. “This is already a very difficult and complicated marketplace. And in our rush to make more and more of these different education and training opportunities available and articulate the skills that are in them, we also need to give people meaningful ways of connecting them to each other, and stacking them, to get to higher opportunities—both educational opportunities and career opportunities. Pathways—career and education pathways—are also extremely important.”
Everhart continues, “One of the reasons we joined Velocity Network Foundation is that it’s pulling the disparate players across the global labor landscape together, and as participants in the Foundation we have an even greater opportunity to work closely across this ecosystem to help drive credential transparency across those many different entities.
But the key thing is really getting back to the people, the individuals who are going to benefit from this, because if I can transparently hold onto credentials that represent what I know and what I can do accurately and thoroughly, then that should help me in my career advancement and make the most of my talent.”