National Higher Education Organizations, Association Executives Launch Crowdsourced Competition with Digital Credential Pioneer to Close the Skills Gap

Lumina Foundation-backed competition to award $10,000 for breakthrough ideas in training and credentialing for high-demand skills and competencies

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - Nov 10, 2016) - Digital credential platform, Credly, with support from Lumina Foundation, is teaming up with the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and the American Council on Education (ACE) to launch a crowdsourcing challenge, open to the public, designed to generate new ideas and engage education and industry association leaders in breakthrough thinking to help close the skills gap.

"Education institutions, associations, and employers all play critical roles in assessing and certifying skills and abilities," said Jonathan Finkelstein, CEO of Credly. "Digital credentials convert these verified competencies into a portable currency which unlocks opportunities and illuminates career pathways. Currencies of value require widespread adoption and we're eager to see what new ideas this challenge inspires."

Increasingly, employers are looking for evidence of specific skills not traditionally represented on a college transcript, diploma, or resume. The crowdsourced competition reflects a shift toward competency-based hiring among employers seeking job-ready applicants, as 5.4 million U.S. jobs remain open, but unfilled, this Fall. In addition to monetary awards of up to $10,000, the winners will have the opportunity to present their idea at ASAE's Great Ideas Conference, March 5-7, 2017, in Orlando, Florida.

"Embracing multiple pathways and offering a more coherent system that recognizes skills demonstrated in both academic and industry contexts is critical to ensuring that our students attain the credentials they need to be successful in today's workplace," said Molly Corbett Broad, President of the American Council on Education. "Using digital credentials to surface skills learned in the classroom and through industry experience can help bridge the gap between education and the world of work. We are eager to bring to light innovative models and ideas that help learners get credit for meaningful knowledge and abilities observed across learning and professional environments."

As some of the most active issuers of certificates and credentials, industry and trade associations are in a unique position to evaluate the capabilities of job candidates and authenticate digital badges to current and future employers.

"Associations play a critical role in training and validating skills -- from wood flooring to financial planning -- that provide individuals with the skills to succeed across a wide range of industries," said Rhonda M. Payne, CAE, Chief Learning Officer of ASAE. "We're excited to provide an opportunity for association leaders to showcase and scale creative ways to use digital credentials and certifications, and test critical assumptions about their social and economic impact."

Digital credentials can be used to promote qualifications on professional and social networks, job and college applications, and employer talent management systems. They allow individuals to showcase verified, portable, and data-rich records of skills and certifications that demonstrate competencies sought by today's employers.

"Lumina Foundation is using all of the tools at its disposal to help the nation achieve Goal 2025: increasing the proportion of Americans with degrees, certificates, and other high-quality credentials to 60 percent by 2025," said Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of Lumina Foundation. "That includes the opportunity to work with Credly, ASAE, and ACE to promote innovation in recognizing competencies and connecting them to opportunities."

The challenge will be hosted on the Innocentive crowdsourcing platform. Submissions open on Thursday, November 10th and close on Friday, December 30 at 11:59 PM EST. To learn more about the challenge requirements and how to submit an entry, visit the challenge page.

About ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership
ASAE is a membership organization of more than 21,000 association executives and industry partners representing 9,300 organizations. Its members manage leading trade associations, individual membership societies and voluntary organizations across the United States and in nearly 50 countries around the world. With support of the ASAE Foundation, a separate nonprofit entity, ASAE is the premier source of learning, knowledge and future-oriented research for the association and nonprofit profession, and provides resources, education, ideas and advocacy to enhance the power and performance of the association and nonprofit community. For more information about ASAE, visit

About the American Council on Education
Founded in 1918, ACE is the major coordinating body for all the nation's higher education institutions, representing more than 1,600 college and university presidents and related associations. It provides leadership on key higher education issues and influences public policy through advocacy. For more information about ACE, visit

About Lumina Foundation
Lumina Foundation is committed to a fair, universal system for learning that meets the nation's talent needs. The system must offer every American the chance for a better life by recognizing learning however it occurs. And this learning should lead to a broad range of marketable credentials. For more information about Lumina Foundation, visit

About Credly
Credly is a leading digital credential service provider, helping the world recognize lifelong achievement with the most popular platforms for verifying, sharing and managing digital credentials and badges. The enterprise-class system allows organizations to officially verify skills and competencies; distribute portable and secure digital credentials and open badges; and gain actionable data and insights. Thousands of education institutions, industry associations, employers and workforce development programs use Credly to make achievements visible. For more information about Credly, visit

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