• Rethinking Higher Education

    Peter Smith's take on opportunity and access in higher education, the unmet challenges that remain, and the future that lies ahead for those willing to tackle it.

Big Idea 1: The Velocity Foundation

Exploring the development of a blockchain-based, global utility layer that enables individuals to take control of their career credentials and opportunities.

March 11, 2020
 

I recently spoke with Yvette Cameron and Dror Gurevich of the Velocity Network Foundation. I caught a glimpse of the future world of employment and credentials that they are looking at -- and saw huge repercussions for higher education and employers.

The Velocity Network Foundation is a global nonprofit consortium that drives the development of a blockchain-based, global utility layer that enables individuals to take back control over their career credentials and to source better career opportunities.

It’s an industry play, led by leading organizations from across the HCM ecosystem of vendors, education providers and employers. Founding members span some of the largest players in HR technology, freelance marketplaces, staffing agencies, assessment providers learning solutions and more.

The Velocity Network is an open-source, public, “internet of careers” that is being developed to serve as the unified data utility layer that underlies the future global labor market.

I found the rationale and the data that the people at Velocity have drawn on to establish their premise to be as stunning as the premise itself. Here are some of the key elements.

  • The labor market data-sharing system is broken.

There are some who would argue that there has never been a functioning labor market data-sharing system. Be that as it may, what the Velocity people are saying is that we can have a reliable system that is owned by the individual and available everywhere.

  • Megatrends for the future of work.

The data incorporated by Velocity suggest that the pool of available workers, skilled for the jobs available, is shrinking and the skill gap is increasing, that turnover is growing rapidly, and that gig work is exploding, especially among the younger generations.

  • The fourth industrial revolution.

Velocity predicts the disruption of long-established business models including more customized products, growing skill shifts and gaps, and massive digitization across all forms of manufacturing. Their question: “How can the global labor market be supported in reaching a new equilibrium in the division of labor between humans, robots, and algorithms?”

And, of course, it will take massive AI and data development in HR technology to respond productively to these forces.

This aggressive, forward-looking view of what is happening in the labor market with data sharing has significant implications for education and training. For me, it suggests a direct challenge for higher education’s “onboarding” of credit recognition for learning done in other settings.

As other forms of verification and validation of knowledge and skills that are controlled by the individual are developed, colleges and universities will have to adapt their certificate and degree requirement to this new marketplace. The marketplace will also need a common language that can incorporate personal, academic and employer requirements.

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