New Industry Digital Badges Bestow Benefits on Linked Learning Students, Signal Quality Programs to Employers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 14, 2018

Hilary McLean, Executive Vice President | E: hilary@linkedlearning.org

New Industry Digital Badges Bestow Benefits on Linked Learning Students, Signal Quality Programs to Employers

Students in select, certified Linked Learning pathways can soon benefit from industry digital badges that signify their achievements and grant them special advantages such as internships and financial support from partnering employers, the Linked Learning Alliance announced today. Digital badges are a critical enhancement of Linked Learning’s certification program, which establishes shared standards, requirements, and definitions of quality in high school pathways.

Digital badges incorporate criteria from employers about skills and knowledge that students need to demonstrate in various sectors of the workforce. The first digital badge, developed through a donation by Sutter Health Plus, a not-for-profit HMO affiliated with Sutter Health, will be available to certified health sector pathways. The badge validates that students have employable skills and qualifies them for 1) internship placement preference, 2) financial support to take the Medical Assisting State Exam, and 3) scholarship eligibility. Other health system employer partners who endorse the badge will commit to providing similar benefits.

“We are proud to partner with employers like Sutter Health Plus who value the skills and expertise that our students learn in certified pathways,” said Anne Stanton, president of the Linked Learning Alliance. “The Alliance aims to recruit even more health systems to endorse this badge, and based on what we learn, to create many more industry badges in other sectors across our economy.”

Partners such as Sutter Health Plus and CalChamber see industry digital badges as a way to ensure that workforce needs are incorporated into quality pathway programs.

“The future of California’s health care system depends on the success of our up-and-coming workforce,” said Monica Majors, Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Health Plan Products, Sutter Health. “We are honored to support Linked Learning Alliance in digitally connecting students with career pathways to hospitals, clinics and other health care related professions.”

Digital badges are being employed across many educational institutions, including competency-based programs, as an additional measure of student achievement beyond degrees. Linked Learning digital badges have been developed in alignment with the most current badging standards. Compliance with these standards enables the badges to be recognized across the education and business sectors on online platforms such as Badgr. Through Badgr, Linked Learning students can acquire badges in a “backpack” to share with potential employers as part of their resume. Digital badges will eventually be incorporated across Linked Learning’s data systems and with badge recognition platforms used by employer partners.

Digital badges will only be offered in silver and gold-certified Linked Learning pathways. The badging initiative was first announced at Linked Learning’s annual convention, currently taking place in Anaheim, California. Additional badges in sectors such as Engineering and Architecture will be launched soon.

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About Linked Learning Alliance
The Linked Learning Alliance is a statewide coalition of education, industry, and community organizations dedicated to improving California’s high schools and preparing students for success in college, career, and life. Established in May 2008, the Linked Learning Alliance aims to build a collective voice and coordinate efforts to expand access to Linked Learning in California-an approach to high school that integrates rigorous academics with real-world learning opportunities in fields of engineering, health care, performing arts, law, and more. | www.linkedlearning.org