Reposted with permission from  Missouri Education Watchdog. Original publication, February 7, 2016.

shoes on wire

WHO will be sorted?  k-12 children (pilot starting in Denver Public schools), then college kids, adults or senior citizens.  …anyone who is going to school, going back to school, needs a job…just about everyone?

(The sorting people like shoes thing, yes, that’s part of a quote. Scroll down to see the whole thing.)

Workforce pathways and digital workforce credentials in k-12 education are all the rage. You can read more about this in our Schooling a Workforce post here.)  If you haven’t heard, the state of Colorado is one of the first in the nation to launch an initiative (don’t worry your state will be working on something similar) to connect state employers and educators with individuals looking for job opportunities through a new online platform called ReWork America Connected, recently rebranded as Skillful[Update: It appears this has been rebranded once again, to CareerWise. The project has also expanded to include more schools and gained 9.5 Million in investments from Bloomberg and JP Morgan Chase and others.] You can read the June 2015 Press Release here and an excerpt from The Denver Business Journal article that lists some mega partners and some interesting quotes here:

“Rework America Connected, is a joint effort between Markle Foundation and the state, will use technology created by LinkedIn, Arizona State University and edX to offer tools and resources to individuals at all skill levels in an effort to develop a more qualified workforce.

The announcement was made by Gov. John Hickenlooper, Markle president and CEO Zoë Baird, Lt. Gov Joe Garcia (Now of WICHE, mentioned here), LinkedIn co-founder Allen BlueedX president and COO Wendy Cebula, Intertech Plastics CEO Noel Ginsburg and Senior VP and COO of Kaiser Permanente, Nancy Wollen.”

“Colorado has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, but we know there is still work to do,” Hickenlooper said. “Innovative approaches like Rework will help end the skills mismatch and create a transparent job market.”

Allen Blue, vice president of product management and co-founder of LinkedIn, said the company will utilize its economic graph technology — a digital map that compiles data of LinkedIn users to connect talent opportunity on a massive scale — to develop software that will assist in the initiative.

“Envision a world where we can bring educators, employers and individuals together … and drive outcomes for both,” Blue said.

Baird compared the effort to buying a pair of shoes on Zappos, for example. “You can sort them by size, color, price,” she said. “We can’t do that yet, in the job market.” [-Zoë Baird CEO of Markle] –The Denver Business Journal

That is an unfortunate quote and is that how society views people and children …as something to sort?  Who is this person, that speaks of sorting Colorado children? Well, turns out she is pretty connected. (Now she can add Governor Hickenlooper to the list, and vice versa.)  Wow. That’s a lot of people and foundations.  Ms. Baird must have nice shoes:

(Click the box and you can expand associations. Thank you

zoe baird

But HOW are they going to do this sorting? (By aligning the standards, aligning the data systems, making education and workforce a “one-stop” shop, they will be linking and sharing State SLDS data and building online connecting tool, credentials. Convenient that we are partnering with LinkedIn who has a digital badging platform, eh?)

WHO will be sorted?  k-12 children (pilot starting in Denver Public Schools), then college kids, adults or senior citizens.  …anyone who is going to school, going back to school, needs a job…just about everyone?

Luckily it turns out, there’s pages and pages of documents if you go digging (and saving), but in case you don’t have the time, a few pictures (and links) say a thousand words.

If, after perusing the links, reading for yourself, if you feel strongly about this, please let Colorado know. We have a full 2 days (until 5pm Feb 9th) for public comment on this linking education and student data with workforce plan. COMMENT HERE. Below is a short screenshot of the overall blueprint to transform and link Colorado with WORKFORCE PATHWAYS TO ALIGN STANDARDS,  ALIGNED DATA AND SHARED ACCESS TO DATA SYSTEMS:

Colorado's Combined Workforce Development

Here is a presentation explaining the $10 million pilot in DPS, to be scaled up state wide. This is your crystal ball into Colorado’s “one-stop” common future. (NOTICE even more partners “recruiting and supporting” this transformation.)

Busines Experiential Build Up PlanI suggest you inspect your shoes, and your kids’ shoes (and their data). Would they get picked?

-Cheri Kiesecker