Employment and Jobs

From Should to Will: Getting Concrete About the Benefits of Learning and Employment Records

November 2, 2023  • Haley Glover

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Learning and Employment Records (LERs), an individual’s records of verified credentials, skills, and employment, have the potential to transform the nation’s education and employment systems. Yet, when it comes to convincing employers of their value, the focus on “potential” is a problem. While aspirational language can be an opening hook in any sales pitch, any user will expect concrete details about a product or service before signing on. Much of the existing messaging supporting employer adoption of LERs for upskilling (for current employees) or skills-based hiring (for new employees) focuses on benefits for employers that are vague and unlikely to inspire continued interest at scale. Language used in LER literature is frequently hopeful and ambitious, rather than speaking to outcomes. 

“LERs are not products that sell themselves.” This comment, shared with me by a vice president of a construction company, has been echoed multiple times over by other employers representing the private and public sectors. LER leaders in states, as well as within the national organizations shepherding this movement, can become immunized to just how much change LERs and the practices they facilitate may require from businesses that are already being stressed within their current operating environments. 

While every company is different and has slightly different priorities, there are four questions that LER leaders should be prepared to address when they engage employers. This brief delves into those four questions and arrays evidence to help LER leaders shift away from “should” and “may” in their employer engagement efforts.

This paper is the third and final one in a series of publications focusing on issues of effective employer communication and engagement.

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UpSkill America is an employer-led movement that promotes training and advancement practices to help workers progress in their careers and move into better-paying jobs. UpSkill America is an initiative of the Economic Opportunities Program.

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