Scaling Digital Credentials with Community College Systems to Empower Underserved Adult Learners


The Scaling Digital Credentials with Community College Systems to Empower Underserved Adult Learners project was a collaborative effort to enhance access to education and employment opportunities for underserved adult learners.  The initiative, funded by Walmart and led by the American Council on Education (ACE), supported the transition to a skills-based economy by partnering with various community colleges and systems.

The project focused on supporting community college systems, students, and workers in the use of emerging and existing digital resources, such as Learning and Employment Records (LERs), blockchain, and digital credentials. ACE piloted with three state-level community college systems -- Ivy Tech Community College in Indiana, the College System of Tennessee, and community colleges within the Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission -- to support the acceptance of digital credentials and LERs to strengthen workforce partnerships and learner outcomes.  The goal of these partnerships was to understand what higher education institutions and systems need to do to establish and grow a LER system.

Project Outcomes

The project developed two key resources to provide guidance for colleges and universities ready to establish or grow an LER system. They offer strategies for engaging faculty and other stakeholders, and outline the stages of development for an effective LER system.


Community colleges are well positioned to drive change.  They offer affordable and accessible education, have the flexibility and charter to align training with regional workforce needs, and are able to leverage their geography and public mission to impact local talent ecosystems. This work focused on community colleges given their unique contributions to working with employers focused on developing their talent pools, including developing strong recruitment, assessment, and training programs.



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