ITCoE Wins Grant to Begin Awarding Badges for Career Readiness Skills

We are excited to announce that the Minnesota State IT Center of Excellence (ITCoE) has been selected by Education Design Lab as one of the five Badging Fellows for their 21st Century Skills Badges

Dozens of applications were submitted to become a Badging Fellow, and the proposal from ITCoE, with the support from three Minnesota State campuses, was chosen to help enhance and accelerate micro-credentialing of career readiness skills.

ITCoE’s relationship with Education Design Lab dates back to 2018, when we elected to leverage the 21st Century Skills Badges to fuel the new Career Readiness D2L Modules.  Since launching the Modules in January 2019, 12 faculty from 9 different campuses have used or are using a Module within their IT, MIS or computer science courses. 

Based on that momentum, ITCoE decided to apply for the Badging Fellows grant during summer 2019, with the vision of offering badges to students who complete a Module.  ITCoE worked with faculty and staff at three Minnesota State campuses to craft a compelling proposal, titled “Project ELEVATE.” 

In the news announcement released by Education Design Lab, Wilson Garland, Executive Director, ITCoE, was quoted as saying, “[We are] thrilled to be designated as a Badging Fellow. As the Minnesota State IT Center of Excellence, our mission is to engage employers, educators, and students to develop a more robust IT workforce in Minnesota.  Being a Fellow and working directly with Education Design Lab will add rocket fuel to our work to offer valuable skills and micro-credentials to IT, computer science and data science students across the state.”

The grant period runs from October 2019 – June 2020, and will encompass three phases.  The first phase entails working with employers, students and faculty to identify enhancements to the three Career Readiness D2L Modules.  The second phase takes place in the winter 2020 semester, where faculty will teach the Modules in various IT and computer science courses, and award badges to students who complete the Modules.  The third phase takes place between May-June 2020, focusing on the results of the project, and writing a case study for the public eye.

The success of the proposal is largely based on the commitment from the three Minnesota State institutions who supplied the vision and passion for career readiness badging.  These three institutions will be doing the heavy lifting to setup and award the badges, with a goal of awarding 200 or more badges in winter 2020.

The three Minnesota State institutions that are part of the Badging Fellows grant are:

  1. Lake Superior College
  2. Metropolitan State University
  3. Minneapolis Community and Technical College

Among the many benefits of being a Badging Fellow will be the opportunity and meet, work with and learn from the four other Badging Fellow institutions around the U.S.  Each institution has a unique proposal to enhance one or more of the 21st Century Skills Badges, which ITCoE may be able to leverage in the future.

The four other Badging Fellow institutions are:

  1. St. Mary’s University (San Antonio, TX)
  2. Northwest Vista College (San Antonio, TX)
  3. University of Washington Continuum College (Seattle, WA)
  4. Florida International University (Miami, FL)

We look forward to providing progress updates throughout the grant period, and hope to hear from more campuses and faculty who are interested in the Career Readiness Modules and micro-credentialing. 

To learn more about the Career Readiness Modules, visit https://mnstateitcoe.org/career-readiness-curriculum.