WGU Launches the Open Skills Management Tool (OSMT) as an Open Source Project

A free and integration ready tool for creating and accessing skills data

Written By: Allison Blackwell

Western Governors University (WGU) has released the Open Skills Management Tool (OSMT) as its first open source project under the Apache 2.0 license. The primary objective being to give free access to employers, higher education institutions, and others to develop and collaborate on skills libraries.

The Problem

To date, skills data has not been easily accessible and is not machine-readable. Although much of the data needed to support skills-based education and hiring already exists, it is often in flat frameworks (e.g., PDF documentation or websites) and is not contextualized to specific roles, tasks, functions, employers, or outcomes. In order to access and manage skills data, it must be extracted from these flat frameworks and/or curated manually.

At WGU, a process was developed where a team called Skills Architecture works with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to parse labor market data and translate it into usable resources. While it’s produced a robust skills library for developing curricula, the work to manage the library has grown increasingly cumbersome and expensive.

As fewer and fewer people are seeking degrees, it’s more important than ever to connect in-demand job skills to education opportunities, ensuring those who attend college are walking away with immediate value.

The Solution

OSMT allows users to create skills data that is machine readable and human accessible to advance skills-based education and hiring. It also helps solve some of the immediate challenges facing employers, workers, learners, and educational institutions today by:

  • Reducing costs to managing skills data
  • Providing accessible ways to shift to skills as a currency for education and hiring
  • Creating a shared skills language for attaining jobs and gaining entry into education/training programs
  • Facilitating career mobility by connecting learners and workers to the skills they need
  • Providing employers a way to improve their ability to up- or re-skill employees in response to market changes
  • Supporting the replacement of manual or outdated processes for issuing and verifying resumes, CVS, and transcripts
  • Allowing for validation of in-demand skills through alignment to validated credentials

Why Open Source?

OSMT also represents an opportunity for WGU to become a leader and collaborative participant in creating technology solutions to connect the skills gap, by advancing skills-based education and skills-based hiring. It makes skills data accessible, usable, and shareable to any organization through open web standards.

By launching OSMT as an open-source project, WGU has enabled any educational institution, training program, or employer to freely deploy and use OSMT to translate curriculum, training and development programs, and job profiles into real world skills statements to inform educational program and curriculum design, as well as job role and task definitions.

In sharing OSMT, we can put WGU’s values and vision to be the most innovative, student-centric university front and center, enabling learner-centric thinking to become the standard.

For those interested in OSMT, check-out https://osmt.io.

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