Blockchain to restore job applicants’ control of their credentials

­­­­­­Report by the American Council of Education argues that blockchain-based tracking of credentials may help solve labour market woes

As the world explores the benefits of the use of blockchain technology in sectors across the spectrum, education seems to be next on the list. A report titled “CONNECTED IMPACT: Unlocking Education and Workforce Opportunity Through Blockchain” was released on June 8 2020 by the American Council of Education, outlining how the technology can help individuals gain control over their credentials and make a better case for themselves in the labour market.

The report is the product of a four-month-long study funded by the United States Department of Education. It draws its conclusions based on extensive research of the problems faced by the growing labour market crisis and opportunities provided by blockchain as a solution to these problems. The research was conducted between November 2019 to February 2020, prior to the global economic downturn due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Explaining the importance of the report, Louis Soares, chief learning and innovation officer at the American Council on Education said, “We’re still struggling to make colleges and employers speak the same language. We’re still trying to address the challenge of creating a digital identity.”

The report states that unemployment and underemployment rates are on the rise as of December 2019, with data from the Federal Reserve suggesting that four out of every ten college graduates are underemployed. In fact, the average time spent in a job, data suggests, is only 4.2 years.

Thus, the report argues, that providing more control over tracking candidates’ multiple credentials will benefit graduates in the dynamic and unpredictable race for employment. Blockchain provides a tamper-proof pathway to optimise human capital data (like an individual’s academic and work history) and promote competitiveness. Blockchain technology can create “more efficient, durable connections between education and work,” the authors say.

The report states that blockchain-based CVs and portfolios will enable stakeholders, including colleges, hiring managers and students, to have a credible real-time record of an individual’s skills and certifications. The authors identify “personal data agency, lifelong learning, and the power of connected ecosystems,” as the three major themes from the research that blockchain technology can play an immense role in.

The report also states that there are presently 71 different efforts from across the world which are working towards using blockchain technologies in the field of education.

The authors indicate that the use of blockchain into giving individuals control over their “human capital data” will improve the speed and granularity of verification and sharing. It adds that the use of a sustainable, transparent and auditable technology like blockchain will provide a competitive advantage of flexibility and adaptability on the ownership of one’s data for the “vulnerable population”.

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