Three Community College Systems Will Partner with ACE to Expand Acceptance of Digital Records and Credentials
October 31, 2022

​ACE is teaming up with three state community college systems to help find ways to expand the use of digital credentials and exchanges to make the process of moving from work to school and back again smoother for working adults.

ACE will partner with The College System of Tennessee, Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, and the Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission, Office of Community Colleges and Workforce Development to support the acceptance of digital credentials and learning and employment records (LERs). Supported by a $500,000 grant from Walmart, this is the second phase of a yearlong project aimed at assisting community college systems, students, and workers in the use of emerging and existing digital resources, such as LERs, blockchain, and digital credentials.

Similar to an academic transcript, LERs can track the supply and demand of skills and serve as “currency” to communicate the value of skills between employers, educators, and worker/learners.

“We want to position LERs not as the latest fly-by-night disruption of higher education, but rather an opportunity to leverage technology and data to better align postsecondary learning with the practical needs of the workforce,” said ACE’s Michele Spires, assistant vice president of Learning Evaluation.

Community colleges are the point of intervention for this project because they educate a large share of adult and underrepresented minority students and offer local, affordable options that support opportunities to expand the use of these types of technology. Additionally, LERs hold appeal for worker/learners interested in showcasing the range of their skills including those achieved through non-traditional learning channels, on-the-job training, military experience, professional development, and other types of formal and informal learning.

A final report that includes toolkits and/or playbooks that incorporate strategies and recommendations for community college systems, developed from lessons, questions, and resource needs identified by partner systems, will be critical to sector-wide adoption of LERs. It will be presented next year in Washington, DC, at ACE2023, ACE’s Annual Meeting.