The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) was looking for a way to engage young professionals in the association, provide additional membership benefits and showcase the unique skills of its membership to a larger audience. It turned to digital credentials.
The NWFA’s developed its Certification Program to recognize and promote the competence and qualifications of wood flooring professionals throughout the industry. NWFA members undergo both written and hands-on testing to earn their certifications, and the newly established NWFA University, enabled some of the training to be delivered through on-demand, online courses.
The NFWA created a webpage to help members understand and maximize the opportunities associated with the digital badges they earn.
As Stephanie Owen, NWFA Education Director explains, the digital badges represented new value for its members. “With a dwindling labor supply, we wanted to engage young professionals with digital credentials that would make them marketable. If they are contracted to install flooring, they can literally show potential customers their certification on their mobile device. Since we were transitioning some of our training to the online environment, the digital credentials made sense.”
NWFA also sought to retroactively recognize existing members who were previously certified. “We’ve issued badges based on our records of prior certifications. So far we have issued more than 3000 badges!” says Owen. “We’re now working on connecting the badge image to the search feature available on WoodFloors.Org. For someone who has attended various classes and is certified, they will rise to the top on the search feature.”
Owen and the NWFA introduced their membership to the idea of digital credentials before the first badge was issued, presenting the plan at the 2016 spring NWFA Expo. NWFA leadership noted immediate interest among members and a budding good natured competition. The association prepared a page on their website related to badges and certifications to let members know what to expect.
“It’s new. It’s going to take a little time for members to understand the power of the badge, but already we have had a few share all their badges to LinkedIn and Facebook. When one professional sees what another is doing, we anticipate even more activity. This is an awesome marketing opportunity and a real benefit of association membership.”
See how NWFA leveraged digital credentials to address the growing skilled labor shortage
Read more about how NWFA's program is building and engaging thier members
A long-respected authority in the testing world, Wonderlic offers a range of assessments that benefit employers and students. Beyond the famed cognitive ability test known as the Wonderlic Personnel Test used in hiring and human resources decision making (not to mention the NFL Draft Combine), Wonderlic also offers direct assessments of specific skills and competencies within competency-based learning programs. Digital credentials help its users better explain and promote competencies to prospective employers, and Wonderlic has developed several comprehensive sets of digital credentials in allied health fields. Further, Wonderlic recently introduced the “Soft Skills Training Bootcamp,” with corresponding digital badges for competencies like “Critical Thinking,” “Teamwork,” and “Professionalism.” Working with students and employers alike, Wonderlic is demonstrating that a digital badge with solid metadata describes not only what an earner knows, but verifies what he or she can do with the knowledge.
For more than 40 years, the American Council on Education’s College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE CREDIT®) has reviewed courses and training programs offered by major corporations, associations, labor unions, and government agencies for eligibility for college credit. ACE CREDIT partnered with Credly to enable its partners to issue digital credentials through Credly, making it easier for working professionals to request academic credit for workplace training and to share evidence of their achievements online. Launch partners include Walt Disney, KFC, Jiffy Lube, Americorps and National Civilian Community Corps.
Read more about the ACE-Credly Collaboration
If you are an ACE CREDIT participant and interested in learning more, you can get started here.
What originated as a redesign of the Illinois State University (ISU) Honors Program grew to encompass a constellation of skillsets, experiences, and opportunities for students, fueled by the use of digital badges. Students are amassing badges and categorizing and curating them to best represent themselves online to potential employers, graduate schools and the world at large. Dr. Rita Bailey, former ISU provost and honors program leadership prioritized the establishment of a culture of reflection and curation and envisioned an Honors Program that would, “offer multiple pathways and ample opportunities for students to engage in meaningful curricular and co-curricular experiences—a Program supported by tools that would recognize students’ present successes and be showcased to achieve future aspirations.”
Read more about the Illinois State Honors Digital Badging Program.
Read more about Credly’s work with ISU
IBM launched an industry-leading digital badging program with the goals of increasing employee recognition and motivating skill progression. It’s working: 87% of IBM digital badge earners feel more engaged with the organization and are motivated to learn more. This leads to employee retention, promotion from within the organization, and overall job satisfaction.
Technology is evolving faster than ever. And, the global workforce is facing a serious talent shortage. While 51% of industry executives cite finding appropriately skilled workers in local labor markets as the greatest challenge related to skills, 71% of corporate recruiters indicate they cannot find applicants with sufficient practical experience.
Innovative companies are not immune to these challenges, and they are looking to digital credentials as a solution. A new case study looks at IBM’s business decision to create a digital badging program to foster employee skill progression.