Powerful, new technology isn’t just displacing workers. It’s uncovering learning pathways to employment in new fields.

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A lot has been written about the impact of technology and whether robots and artificial intelligence will supplant humans. Far less has been said about the opportunities that advances in technology will create for building new credentialing systems that can capture and validate all forms of learning.

After five years in development with support from Lumina Foundation, Business Roundtable, and JPMorgan Chase & Co., such a platform is coming. It’s called Credential Engine, and it’s emerging from the private and nonprofit sectors.

Through this technology platform, we are supporting work to develop and implement standards that will allow the development of apps for an online database that could offer millions of people, including students, workers, and employers, the information they need about skills, educational pathways, and alignment with jobs to make more informed decisions.

Emerging technologies now allow for the organization of — and rapid and efficient access to — vast amounts of data. Organizing this data in standardized formats will enable us to operate on a massive scale to constructively address emerging concerns about how best to prepare for a more automated future, partly guided by more sophisticated AI.

Whatever the position, it seems, there’s a degree, badge, license, or another credential required. These days, it’s a given that some education beyond high school is needed for a living-wage job. At the same time, there are about a quarter-million public, private, and for-profit education and training credentials being offered out there.

Credentialing programs range from supply chain management to electroneurodiagnostic technology, an allied health field in which people record patients’ nervous system functions for physicians to interpret. And aspiring programmers can earn certificates in software development.

Increasingly, as growing numbers of programs emerge in new fields, consumers and employers are seeking more information. They want to fully understand their options: where to start, what they’ll learn, how their new knowledge and skills can be put to use.

Finally, it’s happening. Credential Engine includes these features:

- Common language — New metadata called Credential Transparency Description Language (CDTL) will be used to describe key features of credentials.

- Open-licensed registry — This first-of-its-kind, voluntary registry will share comparable information from credentialing organizations about the range of credentials and how they relate to each other to help people create learning pathways.

- Shareable data — Customized apps can be built for students, companies, and other interested parties, making the massive database even more useful.

All credentials, including bachelor’s and associate degrees, need to be more clearly understood — for the benefit of workers, hiring managers, workforce, and labor organizations, higher-ed institutions, credentials providers, and for the benefit of agencies such as accreditors and licensing entities involved in supporting the transition from learning to work.

Credential Engine holds the potential to help us understand more about the credentials being offered out there, which third-party organizations vouch for their quality, and, eventually, the wages and jobs associated with each education options. Only then, armed with greater knowledge, can people can build career pathways that adapt and change over time.

For more, see the Credential Engine website, including video from the Dec. 7 announcement, at https://www.credentialengine.org/