The Idaho Division of Career Technical Education (IDCTE) earned a Power Learner Potential Organization Award from 1EdTech Consortium™ at the 2023 Learning Impact Conference on June 7 in Anaheim, California, for their work in digital credentials and microcredentials. The newly created award is given to organizations leading the way in creating innovative ecosystems that power learner potential.
SkillStack® is Idaho’s microcredential platform. Competencies are developed through a collaborative process that engages employers, educators, and other critical stakeholders to ensure that microcredentials represent the technical and durable skills learners need to succeed. Learners acquire these skills and have multiple opportunities to demonstrate them, such as assessments and hands-on activities that are validated and tracked using SkillStack®. Learners then earn digital badges, which are a visual representation of microcredentials embedded with data verifying an earner’s achievements. These credentials are recognized by the Idaho State Board of Education. Verified industry partners can log in, identify microcredentials specific to their hiring needs, and send customized emails to potential candidates that possess the desired skills.
Since its inception in 2015, Idaho educators have issued over 100,000 badges via the SkillStack® platform.
“Getting to the future of education requires cross-boundary leadership spanning IT and curriculum and instruction from stakeholders across K-12, higher education, suppliers, governments, and philanthropic funders,” said Rob Abel, 1EdTech’s CEO. “Our Power Learner Potential Awards recognize those organizations that go above and beyond to take those collaborations to the next level to address the key educational leadership imperatives of our time.”
“It’s exciting to see how far we’ve come to make the vision of our digital credential platform a reality,” said Dr. Clay Long, IDCTE’s state administrator. “Having our team’s work acknowledged by experts around the globe gives additional validation for the work we’re doing and the opportunities it will continue to provide Idaho learners.”
The Idaho Division of Career Technical Education (IDCTE) is the state agency charged with promoting and supporting career technical education programs throughout the state. IDCTE prepares Idaho’s youth and adults for high-skill, in-demand careers through collaborations with local school districts, institutions, educators, and industry partners.
1EdTech Consortium is a global nonprofit organization where some of the most innovative educational providers and technology companies collaborate to improve digital learning solutions and prepare for future challenges. Through collaborations and standards that work for all stakeholders, members create solutions that enable transformative digital learning experiences and personalized learner journeys, boost achievement opportunities, and improve learner success. IDCTE has been a contributing member of 1EdTech since March 2020.
Self-improvement has always been important to Daniel Dives. When Dives worked for Metro by T-Mobile, he always strove to become a better manager and salesperson. But it wasn’t until he read “Unlimited Power” by Tony Robbins and “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey that he unlocked his potential and realized that business wasn’t about increasing your sales or moving product; it was about developing yourself spiritually, mentally, and physically and teaching others to do the same.
It’s no surprise that Dives was one of 169 unique learners who earned the stacked Administrative Functions microcredential in SkillStack® last year. What is surprising is that he earned it at the Idaho State Correctional Center in Kuna.
Dives is one of 2,777 residents of the Idaho Department of Correction (IDOC) taking advantage of the opportunity to learn industry-recognized credentials and certifications while in residence in 2021. IDCTE partners with IDOC and Workforce Training Centers at each technical college to validate the credentials residents earn.
“Residents can leverage the skills they’re learning to transition to the workforce,” said Taylor Stump, IDCTE’s SkillStack® and performance management coordinator. “Because the credits are transcribed through the technical colleges—and because they’re demonstrating skills aligned with industry standards and credentials—they have a lot of credibility that can help residents upon reentry.”
In addition to learning skills he can use to pursue his career goals upon his release, the classes Dives has taken while in residence have also helped him build his self-confidence. Dives, who has an associate degree in criminal justice, never learned to use Microsoft Office programs, so he’d skip classes if he had to use PowerPoint or wouldn’t speak up in meetings if he had to present.
“When I worked at Metro, we had to run reports two or three times a week. I didn’t know how to create a report, so a lot of things didn’t look right, but they let me wing it because I was good at other things,” said Dives. “As a manager, I’d have rather had my reports look more professional. Had I known then what I know now, I’d have been more confident going to a meeting and saying, ‘This is what I think.’ Before, I would’ve stayed in the background a bit more because I wasn’t confident enough to put myself forward.”
Though Dives has always known he wanted to be an entrepreneur, he’s also taken electrical wiring, electrical systems, and masonry courses through IDOC.
Dives found he liked the hands-on nature of the construction classes and even earned certifications in electrical wiring, electrical systems technology and masonry from the National Center for Construction Education and Research.
“These classes helped me realize I have options and be more open-minded about my future,” said Dives. “There are some guys who’ve been released and come back three times in the five years I’ve been here, and it’s because they don’t have any plans. They don’t have any plans because they don’t think they can do something different. But when you start to realize you are intelligent, you realize you can do these things. You can take these classes. You can have a different future.”