With Funding from the Charles Koch Foundation and Walmart, Wellspring Connects Institutions and Industry Using Digital Credentials to Advance Individual Opportunity and Talent Acquisition
LAKE MARY, Florida, 10 December 2020 — IMS Global Learning Consortium, the leading non-profit edtech innovation collaboration, and its affiliate charitable organization, the 1EdTech Foundation, announced progress on a multi-phase project bringing together educators and employers to meet the demands of a skills-based global economy.
The Wellspring Project aims to create a scalable and sustainable talent ecosystem through standards-based, interoperable technology, and verifiable digital credentials. As more innovative learning models emerge that focus on educational equity, learner agency, and skills mastery, digital credentials become valuable assets for institutions, individuals, and employers—to capture all learning experiences and achievements and translate them into more accurately matched education and job opportunities. Wellspring brings together educational institutions, employers, and industry associations to build an infrastructure for leveraging digital credentials to improve individuals' job opportunities and employers' hiring practices.
The first phase of the Wellspring Project, led by IMS and funded by the Charles Koch Foundation, explored the feasibility of dynamic, shared competency frameworks for curriculum aligned to workforce needs. Partnering with Education Design Lab and the Council for Adult and Continuing Education (CAEL), IMS organized cohorts of education providers and employers by common disciplines and related skills. Using learning tools that leverage the IMS Competencies and Academic Standards Exchange® (CASE®) standard, the cohorts mapped co-developed frameworks, digitally linking the data to connect educational program offerings with employer talent needs.
A comprehensive report summarizing Wellspring Phase I and its findings is available at https://www.imsglobal.org/about/wellspring/reports/phase1.
Support from the Charles Koch Foundation and Walmart ushers in the next phase of the project from January through June 2021. Wellspring Phase II expands the work on competency frameworks. Participants will develop reference software to demonstrate the creation, management, and sharing of skills-aligned digital credentials using the IMS Comprehensive Learner Record (CLR) standard. This phase of the project also includes intensive primary research on the adoption of digital credentials and skills frameworks in over 700 employers.
"The Wellspring Project represents a tremendous opportunity to elevate and expand the use of interoperable digital credentials across education and business to enable career and life success," said Dr. Rob Abel, chief executive officer, IMS Global Learning Consortium. "Thanks to the support from the Charles Koch Foundation, Walmart, and other partners, IMS will continue to lead the breakthrough work and collaboration needed to bridge the gap between education and employment."
"We're inspired by IMS's commitment to lifelong learners and excited to continue supporting this important project," said Charles Koch Foundation Executive Director Ryan Stowers. "Through an innovative approach to digital credentialing, students can seamlessly connect to learning opportunities that help them discover their aptitudes and fulfill their potential, while also aligning with community needs and industry opportunities. That's an outcome that will benefit learners in a rapidly changing society."
"We are very excited to see the progress made towards building a talent ecosystem with verifiable skills," said Sean Murphy, Walmart.org. "We are pleased to support Phase II of the Wellspring project to accelerate the adoption and implementation of skill-based credentials for working learners to enable faster mobility through a skills-based system."
Wellspring will be front-and-center at the IMS Digital Credentials Summit, March 1-4, 2021, an annual cross-sector leadership event focusing on new learning models and ecosystem development to accelerate the talent continuum.