IBM-backed project seeks to set standard for blockchain work credentials

Dive Brief:

  • A group of organizations supported by IBM announced plans to launch a credentialing platform that will utilize blockchain technology, according to a statement shared with HR Dive.
  • The platform — still in development, according to a company blog written by Alex Kaplan, IBM’s global leader of blockchain and AI for learning credentials — will provide workers a “permanent, verifiable record” of their learning, certifications and skills. Applicants using the platform will have control of their data and would be able to choose how it is shared, Kaplan said.
  • Kaplan said the initiative seeks to address issues stemming from both the large number of credentials available in the U.S. as well as resume fraud. Partners in the project include the non-profit National Student Clearinghouse and Central New Mexico Community College, both of which are founding partners of the project.

Dive Insight:

The proposal is one of many put forward to solve the issue of resume fraud and credentialing with blockchain. In recent years, the HR community has shown some interest in the technology, but experts who spoke with HR Dive in 2018 said a “dominant player” will be needed in order to spur adoption.

Even those working in the technology space realize the need for business systems to change in order for blockchain to roll out on a wide scale, HR Dive’s sister publication CIO Dive previously reported. But that trend may not happen for another decade at the earliest, sources told CIO Dive.

IBM is one player in the larger credentialing industry, along with platforms like Credly and Education Design Lab, which announced a partnership in 2018 around what the firms called “21st Century Skills” credentials. Education Design Lab has already gathered a network of higher learning institutions, including Central New Mexico Community College, to launch a two-year study of credentials for traditionally underserved learner groups. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2017 launched a “digital diploma” system that is based on blockchain technology.

Regardless of the solution, lying on resumes continues to be a common statistical problem and one from which HR professionals themselves are not immune, according to a May study by Comparably. Besides looking to technology solutions, recruiters can also combat the problem by updating job descriptions, adding skills testing and upping training of hiring managers. Even old standbys like phone screenings can be helpful, experts previously told HR Dive.

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