Media report UMaine to partner with companies on digital badging initiative

Mainebiz, WABI (Channel 5) and WVII (Channel 7) reported the University of Maine is one of seven colleges involved in a yearlong national 21st Century Skills initiative to promote interpersonal job skills in students through the use of digital badges. UMaine will connect students with employers at Bangor Savings Bank and Northern Light Health who have committed to considering job applications from UMaine students who have earned badges. UMaine will work with the Education Design Lab, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, to offer coursework and activities to develop skills including intercultural fluency, communication and resilience, for which the badges will be awarded, according to Mainebiz. The initiative is the first of its kind to bring schools and employers together to understand how badges can improve the hiring process and success of students, WABI reported. “Everybody needs 21st century skills — oral communication, critical thinking, collaboration,” Claire Sullivan, UMaine associate dean for community engagement, told WVII. “And so this is a way to demonstrate that, not just to say a line on your resume that you have these skills, but you actually have the artifacts to back that up.” The artifacts could include research papers, work history or videos demonstrating a student’s skills and listed under the corresponding badge, according to WVII.