Credly/Lumina Foundation/ASAE/ACE Challenge: Closing the Skills Gap with Digital Credentials

$10,000 USD

Challenge overview

In a recent monthly report, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics tallied 5.4 million job openings as of August 2016. While an increase in job opportunities is good news for the unemployed, employers face continued difficulty identifying and hiring potential candidates with skills sufficient to fill these vacancies. The resulting skills gap represents a key challenge to a thriving American economy. Credly, Lumina Foundation, the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), and the American Council on Education (ACE) seek new approaches to utilize digital credentials to connect qualified individuals with available opportunities and bridge the skills gap.

This is an Ideation Challenge with a guaranteed award for at least one submitted solution.

For much of modern history, the college diploma has served as the primary credential -- the key to unlocking doors to job opportunity. But to many employers today, a diploma represents an opaque signal for workforce readiness. Being “job-ready” often requires a set of knowledge and skills not reflected on a transcript and sometimes not formally taught in school. For those already in the workforce, the need to showcase oneself to current and prospective employers can prove even more challenging absent a reliable way to recognize and communicate verified competencies, skills, and certification. This challenge is magnified for skills acquired outside an academic setting. The advent of digital credentials has enabled individuals to leverage their achievements and abilities through social and professional media and in job, school, and membership applications. Credly, Lumina Foundation, the American Society of Association Executives, and the American Council on Education seek new approaches and insights into utilizing digital credentials to bridge the skills gap in the labor marketplace.

This is a special Ideation Challenge, which has the following unique features:

  • There is a guaranteed award.  The award(s) will be paid to the best submission(s) as solely determined by the Seekers. The total payout will be $10,000, with at least one award being no smaller than $5,000 and no award being smaller than $2,000.
  • In addition to the monetary award, a winning Solver of this Challenge will be offered the opportunity to present their idea at the American Society of Association Executives’ (ASAE) Great Ideas Conference in Orlando (March 5-7, 2017).
  • The Solvers are not required to transfer exclusive intellectual property rights to the Seekers.  Rather, by submitting a proposal, the Solver grants to the Seekers a royalty-free, perpetual, and non-exclusive license to use any information included in this proposal, including for promotional purposes.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on December 30, 2016. 

Late submissions will not be considered.

After the Challenge deadline, the Seekers will complete the review process and make a decision with regards to the Winning Solution(s). All Solvers that submit a proposal will be notified on the status of their submissions by January 31, 2017; however, no detailed evaluation of individual submissions will be provided.


Credly is a leading digital credential service provider, helping the world recognize lifelong achievement with the most popular platforms for verifying, sharing, and managing digital credentials and badges. The enterprise-class system allows organizations to officially verify skills and competencies; distribute portable and secure digital credentials and open badges; and gain actionable data and insights. Thousands of education institutions, industry associations, employers and workforce development programs use Credly to make achievements visible. Learn more at

Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation committed to increasing the proportion of Americans with degrees, certificates, and other high-quality credentials to 60 percent by 2025. Lumina’s outcomes-based approach focuses on helping to design and build an equitable, accessible, responsive, and accountable higher education system while fostering a national sense of urgency for action to achieve Goal 2025.

ASAE is the essential organization for association management, representing both organizations and individual association professionals. ASAE believes associations have the power to transform society for the better and its passion is to help association professionals achieve previously unimaginable levels of performance. ASAE achieves this by nurturing a community of smart, creative, and interesting people: its members. In short, ASAE is the Center for Association Leadership.

Founded in 1918, ACE is the major coordinating body for all the nation's higher education institutions, representing more than 1,600 college and university presidents and related associations. It provides leadership on key higher education issues and influences public policy through advocacy.

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