The surprisingly "minor" change that helps this college's students get jobs

Colleges that translate student competencies into workforce-ready skills can boost students' professional success, Brenda Perea writes for Community College Daily.

There's a disconnect between how students communicate their abilities and how employers interpret them—and this is what's behind complaints about a skills gap, Perea argues.

To bridge the communication gap between students and employers, the Colorado Community College System (CCCS) partnered with local employers to identify the region's most in-demand skills, writes Perea, the instructional design project manager who led the initiative.

Instead of overhauling existing courses, Perea's team found that relatively "minor reconfigurations" to existing content could help translate them into skills employers recognized. CCCS then mapped the identified skills into web-based, verifiable digital credentials that students can earn and share with prospective employers, she adds.

Related: Translate student employment into career development

The digital credentials offer students a way to showcase technical and soft skills as well as job-relevant experience. The online credentials describe the skill, include the criteria to earn the badge, and provide evidence of the achievement, Perea notes. Students can promote their credentials across professional networks such as LinkedIn.

CCCS's badge system is a win-win for students and employers, Perea writes. When colleges and businesses work together to understand the local labor market, students can build the relevant skills needed and employers can find the right talent, she adds (Perea, Community College Daily, 11/28).

Also see: How to fill your labor intelligence gap

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