Updated: Aug 16, 2021
Skills – it’s a word that is everywhere these days. A recent survey suggests, 44% of young people worry that there won’t be demand for their skills and knowledge in the future. With the disruptions seen in the current labor market it’s an honest mistake to think that this is something new. But the conversation around skill is something that predates the pandemic.
In fact, there are many moving to address the what and how of a skills-based economy. With so many laying the groundwork to develop frameworks to define and catalogue skills there is a danger of miscommunication and misunderstanding. How can a solution be deciphered out of so much potential babble? In this case when it comes to creating technical solutions for the benefit if all, more minds are better than one. If skill is a language that is still being understood across institutions and organizations, having a tool like a Rosetta Stone is key.
The Open Skills Network (OSN) hosted the demonstration, led by WGU Product Manager Allison Blackwell, that highlighted the capabilities of the tool during the inaugural OSN Skills Summit. The Open Skills Management Tool (OSMT) is a free, open-source instrument to facilitate the production of rich skill descriptor (RSD) based open skills libraries. In short it helps to create a commons skills language by creating, managing, and organizing skills related data. An open-source framework allows everyone to use the tool collaboratively to define the RSD so that those skills are translatable and transferable across educational institutions and hiring organizations within programs, curricula, and job descriptions.
What is an RSD? A rich skill descriptor is made up of a contextualized skill statement and associated metadata that enable the interoperability of the skill. These metadata components contain information on occupational data and job codes, a skill statement that shapes the focus of that particular skill and gives it context, intelligent labor market data including job descriptions and trends, standards or certifications that may reference that skill or require it, and searchable skill keywords. All of this is what makes up an RSD. It is a full package of data that gives the skill meaning and makes it universal under a potential Rosetta Stone such as OSMT.
As a collaborative tool, OSMT will allow users to author and edit rich contextualized skill statements using a standard syntax while allowing tagging to relevant metadata. Users will also be able to organize, search, and curate a collection RSDs while also publishing the information into a usable format with current systems such as DAMS, CMS, or HRIS. This will allow the RSDs to connect across industry and educational systems to link the person from learning to hiring and beyond.
This unique tool will continue to be enhanced by the OSN to support broad adoption and community contribution and collaboration. OSMT and RSDs may at first appear to be indecipherable acronyms but in the end they may lead to universal understanding within a skills-based world.