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Definition: An individual, company or organization that pays for work.

Examples: Large, medium and small enterprise businesses or companies, government or other agencies, non-profits or individuals.

Roles and Workstreams


  • Partner in research and pilots — on data collection, alignment of skills to business needs, systems integration, etc.
  • Advocate to HR software providers to explore which standards they comply with and communicate their desire to explore LERs


  • Adopt a skills-based approach to training, talent development, and retention, adopting or mapping jobs to skills frameworks
  • Issue LERs to document employees’ skills development and achievements
  • Train supervisors on how to utilize LER tools to issue LERs for incumbent workers and those participating in work-based learning opportunities


  • Train hiring managers and supervisors on how to use LERs and skills-based approaches
  • Work with internal teams to develop and standardize skills-based job descriptions and postings and to validate skill requirements through job analysis, leveraging emerging tools that support this process
  • Work with education, training, and credentialing partners to integrate LERs into talent pipelines


  • Adopt new HR systems, HR processes and hiring behaviors to use LERs for employment opportunities
  • Work with HR vendors to adopt shared standards so HR systems can process resumes as machine actionable LER data when assessing qualifications for a job
  • Track metrics regarding successful placement and data on effectiveness for company and users

Action Areas

There are key action areas that we believe LER ecosystem stakeholders should focus on to make significant progress towards adoption in service of equity and opportunity. All action areas rely on the participation of stakeholders in pilots, research and advocacy initiatives.

Promoting Adoption

Identify the advantages of using LERs, as compared to current practices, towards stakeholder goals and agendas. Define metrics for success and develop data driven value propositions.

  • Partner in research and pilots that collect data and support the alignment of skills to business needs and systems integrations
  • Promote employer use of digital credentials and skills data in hiring and for recognition of on the job training and upskilling

Building Employer Demand

Scale LER issuing and increase employer demand and capacity by supporting integration with existing systems and demonstrating usability and value.

  • Partner in research and pilots on data collection, alignment of skills to business needs, change management and systems integration
  • Work with HR Systems including HRIS and ATS to increase support for integration of data from LERs and train hiring managers and supervisors on how to use LERs and skills-based approaches.
  • Make a commitment to skills-based talent practices, including how LERs and other skills signals are used in decision making about hiring and advancement at all levels of the organization
  • Standardize the development of skills-based, bias-free job descriptions and postings
  • Work with workforce development organizations and other community-centered organizations to build a skills-based pipeline.
  • Track metrics regarding successful placement and data on effectiveness for company and users.

Gathering Data on Impact

How do we know LERs are effective in unlocking opportunities for learners and streamlining processes for employers and educators? Stakeholders across the ecosystem must collect empirical data that confirms value statements about LERs and identifies areas for improvement in work streams.

  • Track metrics that examine the efficacy of LERs. These can include the time and cost to fill jobs, employee turnover and vertical or horizontal mobility within the workplace, and other indicators of better matching and hiring of candidates and positions.

Support Degree and Skills Based Systems

LERs can be issued for large scale achievements like diplomas and degrees or for more granular ones like courses or even individual skills and competencies. The ideal LER Ecosystem will support recognition of learning and abilities obtained through both traditional and skills-based systems.

  • Adopt skills based approaches to training, talent development, and retention by issuing LERs to document employee skills development and achievements throughout their employment
  • Train hiring managers on recognizing LERs issued for both degrees and diplomas as well as more granular achievements, like professional certificates, non-degree bearing coursework, or previous career or life experiences
  • Consider removing bachelor’s degree requirements or other specific proxies where possible, opting for skill-based matching of open roles with applicants with the desired skill set.
  • Collaborate with workforce development organizations education and training centers to codesign a skills-based talent pipeline.
By moving towards a system where individuals and employers can understand the skills an individual has by the credentials they hold, we enhance the power of the LER as an accelerator for skills-based hiring and education practices.
— American Workforce Policy Advisory Board, 2020, p.8

Business Case

Lowering cost to find and hire top talent - LERs enable employers to identify desired skills within a talent pool. LERs are instantly verified, allowing hiring managers to remove additional time required to check the validity of credentials

Opportunity to attract qualified and diverse talent - reputation for innovation on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) and career development leads to swifter access to top talent

Lowering onboarding and training costs - LERs can be used to customize onboarding plans and streamline how skill gaps are addressed

Support retention - Encourage employee growth through learning and skills development and attainment, as well as identifying candidates for career advancement with customized upskilling plans

Social Case

Leadership as DEIB-forward employer - offering employees ownership over their digital identity and opening up access to jobs and advancement through skills-based hiring and lifelong learning attracts top talent

This work was supported by a grant from Walmart