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November 16, 2021

Western Governors University Releases Open-Source Code to Facilitate Universal Skills Language

Open Skills Management Tool Facilitates the Expansion of Skills-Based Learning and Hiring

SALT LAKE CITYWestern Governors University (WGU) today announced it has released the code for the Open Skills Management Toolkit (OSMT) as an open-source project, under the Apache license, giving free access to employers, higher ed institutions, and others to develop and collaborate on skills libraries. Organizations using OSMT may create, access, and share dynamic skills demand data, accelerating the development of skills-based education and more work-relevant credentials leading to the implementation of more fair and equitable hiring practices. 

WGU has long been a leader in industry relevant, competency-based education. As a founder of the Open Skills Network (OSN), a community of practice focused on skills-based education and hiring that represents more than 1,200 employers, educational providers, and technology companies, WGU is deeply committed to progressing a skills-based ecosystem far beyond its institutional mission. This commitment, propelled by generous funding from the Walmart Foundation, prompted WGU’s open-source nature of the OSMT to help accelerate its adoption throughout the OSN and beyond.

OSMT makes skills data accessible, usable, and shareable to any organization through open web standards. Many companies have built their own skills libraries but lack the infrastructure and capacity to dynamically update and share this work in an accessible format. By launching OSMT as an open-source project, WGU has enabled any educational institution, training program, or employer to freely deploy and use OSMT to translate curriculum, training and development programs, and job profiles into real world skills statements to inform educational program and curriculum design, as well as job role and task definitions. 

“WGU’s vision for a skills-based talent pipeline is one that recognizes the abilities and potential of every individual, not just their formal credentials,” says Marni Baker Stein, WGU’s Provost and Chief Academic Officer. “Our vision is grounded in our technical expertise as the nation’s largest competency-based education provider, and in our mission to create pathways to opportunity for every individual.”

Designed in collaboration with OSN co-founder Concentric Sky, OSMT is a powerful output of the OSN’s vision and work to gain widespread acceptance and adoption of skills-based education and hiring practices, where learner-workers are empowered to use their skills as currency. OSMT has been integrated into Concentric Sky’s Badgr micro-credentialing platform, facilitating the creation of digital credentials that align to Open Skills, creating the building blocks for the shift to skills-based education and hiring. 

“The mission of WGU’s open-source initiative is to be a leader and collaborative participant in creating technology solutions to problems that many others in the higher education ecosystem are trying to solve today,” said David Morales, Senior Vice President of Technology and Chief Information Officer at WGU. “We believe that when it comes to creating technical solutions for the benefit of all learners, more minds are better than one.”

Those who want to join the skills movement and get started using OSMT can learn more at:

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