Last Updated: 05/28/2024


SkillsFWD is an initiative to catalyze a more equitable skills-based hiring ecosystem leveraging Learning and Employment Records (LERs).  The initiative is managed by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors with funding support from the Charles Koch Foundation, Strada Education Foundation, Walmart, Ascendium Education Group, and other funders.

On October 5, 2023, SkillsFWD issued a Request for Proposals to invite proposals to build a more equitable skills-based hiring ecosystem leveraging LERs. The deadline for proposals was November 8, 2023.

In December 2023, SkillsFWD announced six inaugural grants to fund projects focused on solving challenges around the adoption and accessibility of LERs. The six projects bring together cross-industry stakeholders, including employers, learners and workers, education and training providers, and policymakers, to build upon existing tools and systems and demonstrate how to make LERs scalable:

  • Accelerate Montana's Validated Skills is piloting statewide adoption of LERs among employers of all sizes in the construction trades and technology industries across urban, rural, and tribal communities.
  • The Alabama Talent Triad, supported by C-BEN, is leveraging its comprehensive skills-based talent marketplace — which uses the lifecycle of LERs to connect jobseekers to employment and education opportunities — to scale statewide pathways from entry credentials to middle skills jobs across four industries.
  • The Central Ohio Talent Network — powered by SchooLinks, a market-leading college and career readiness platform — leverages SchooLinks’ work-based learning solution to power new modes of early career talent and employer matching at scale via LERs. This is an effort of the Workforce Development Board of Central Ohio.
  • ColoradoFWD project led by the Colorado Workforce Development Council is leveraging LERs to match skills and talent to opportunity, promote economic mobility, and empower learners and earners in order to address urgent direct care and behavioral healthcare talent shortages.
  • The Student Worker Employment for Skills-Based Success led by Arizona State University is empowering students seeking work to gain meaningful student employment through a scalable LER-driven job marketplace while reducing barriers to hiring for employers.
  • The Scaling the Skills-Based Workforce System in CT, led by the Connecticut Office of Workforce Strategy, is expanding the state’s skills-based hiring ecosystem, leveraging LERs to bridge the skills gap, foster equitable and effective employment practices, and setting a scalable model for nationwide, demand-driven workforce development.

These projects are expected to help shape the future of the skills-based hiring movement.


Increased adoption of LERs is a critical part of the movement to enable workers to better track and express their unique experiences and ability to succeed in a job while helping employers transform how they source talent and establish work cultures focused on lifelong learning and demonstrated ability.

More than 70 million adults in the United States are skilled through community college, workforce training, bootcamps, certificate programs, military service or on-the-job learning, rather than through a bachelor’s degree. In an increasingly competitive job market, employers are beginning to adapt hiring practices to reach this underutilized talent pool. As example, from 2017-2019, employers removed degree requirements from nearly half of middle-skill jobs and one-third of high-skills jobs.


Resources — SkillsFWD | Catalyzing a Skills-based Future: information focused on learning and employment records to include the LER Ecosystem Map, Brookings Institution, T3 Innovation Network, Digital Promise, National Governors Association, Credential Engine, Work Shift, Jobs for the Future, AACRAO, and Aspen Institute

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