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Optimizing Transitions: The Importance of Warm Handoffs for Education and Workforce Agencies

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Connecting learners and job seekers to meaningful pathways requires steady collaboration between education, workforce, and training agencies. When organizations or programs embrace warm handoffs, it ensures that no person falls through the cracks— whether transitioning from K-12 to higher education, education to employment, or training to training. The challenge in warm handoffs lies in sharing information smoothly, which is why education and workforce agencies can utilize technology to overcome this hurdle. By leveraging technology like verified credentials, workforce ecosystems can empower individuals to progress through learning and training to connect to worthwhile employment. 

The Challenge in Sharing Individuals’ Credentials between Education and Workforce Agencies

Undoubtedly, the core focus of education, workforce, and training agencies is to empower job seekers and learners, setting them on the path to meaningful employment opportunities. Individuals acquire a comprehensive list of professional experiences and accomplishments on this pathway. Still, the issue often lies in maintaining the visibility and transferability of this information from agency to agency, organization to organization,  or program to program. 

Consider a scenario where a recent graduate has completed a welding occupational program and obtained a certificate. That person is eager to enter employment and take advantage of the experience they’ve worked hard for. However, the lack of visibility and transferability of these credentials/training/certifications leaves the learner spending valuable time searching through job listings, hoping to find a position that aligns with their welding training. Ultimately, these roadblocks delay individuals seeking access to quality jobs or career experiences. Jobs remain unfilled, leaving individuals on the sidelines seeking opportunities to connect.

Ensuring Warm-Handoffs Through Technology

Fortunately, technologies can support seamless transitions, ensuring valuable connections and preventing any individual from getting lost, delayed, or disconnected on their path to employment. Solutions like Merits for Workforce enable warm handoffs by streamlining the sharing of verified credentials between education and workforce agencies. Technology can support these critical connections through Learning Experience Records (LERs) and digital wallets. LERs consolidate an individual's work and education history into a single, verified digital record to make sharing education and workforce experiences seamless between institutions. Individuals can securely save, share, and see their credentials while facilitating connections with essential partners like employers, schools, and training providers. 

Let’s revisit the case of the learner who successfully obtained a welding occupational certificate. 

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As mentioned, that individual is most likely ready to join the welding industry and put their certificate to good use. Technology allows the rapid sharing of verified credentials through the welding program, connecting that individual to relevant employment opportunities and giving them the autonomy to share their credentials with a prospective employer. This streamlined information transfer creates a swift entry into welding employment for the individual while giving them agency on their pathway to meaningful employment.  By adopting digital credential technologies, education and training providers can elevate warm hand-offs and ensure no learners or workers get left behind. 

Looking Toward the Future for an Interconnected Workforce Ecosystem

Innovations such as digital credentials, LERs, and digital wallets create a tangible bridge, enabling workforce agencies to address the growing demand for upskilled and reskilled workers. When education, workforce, and training agencies implement verified credentials, they can better transition learners and workers into the next stage of their careers.  This warm handoff enables workforce ecosystems to capture each individual's unique career experiences, preventing them from missing valuable employment opportunities or taking the next step on their journey. 

There is no question that warm handoffs tremendously support smooth transitions for learners and job seekers. Looking ahead, technologies like Merits for Workforce can overcome the challenges of sharing individuals’ digital credentials between schools, employers, training centers, and more. Stay tuned for upcoming blogs to discuss challenges within workforce ecosystems and how Merit works towards connecting the dots and sharing ideas and solutions to bolster all talent strategies. 


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Connecting learners and job seekers to meaningful pathways requires steady collaboration between education, workforce, and training agencies. When...

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