New job website asks applicants to focus on competencies instead of degrees looks to connect applicants with jobs, education providers

A new job website aims to connect middle-skills workers with job and career opportunities—as well as the education to get them hired and promoted, Paul Fain reports for Inside Higher Ed.

Launched by the Markle Foundation, serves the greater Phoenix and Colorado areas. The job search platform was created to serve people who have their high school diplomas but who have not obtained bachelor's degrees.

LinkedIn in turn launched a complementary website, Training Finder, to facilitate conversations among job seekers, job training providers, and employers.

"Pulling the three together into a single system is the best way," says Allen Blue, LinkedIn's co-founder and VP for product management. "We believe we can make that work at scale, across the nation and the world."

Skillful requires all participants to focus on competencies and clearly describe the skills needed for a position. Jobs are described as occupational, "foundational," or soft skills—information that comes from the U.S. Department of Labor and employer focus groups. "Day-in-the-life" videos and related certifications are also included, as are local job postings from LinkedIn.

Additionally the "Training Finder" points users to training programs to help them land jobs and promotions. Blue says all types of training programs are welcome to participate: traditional colleges, industry associations, MOOC providers, and for-profits.

"We tried to create a system that is as open and agnostic as possible about the types of training," he says.

However, the programs that result in applicants being hired will earn higher placement on the page.

Additional website features include: an edX course on interview preparation, a "deep dive" on profession-specific competencies, and a federal site that matches user skills with possible careers (Fain, Inside Higher Ed, 3/21).

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