PAIRIN Announces Open Pathways Alliance to Implement Open Credential and Skills Data to Transform Career Planning

PAIRIN, the workforce journey company, today announced the launch of the Open Pathways Alliance, which brings together noted nonprofits and social impact technology companies, including Credential Engine, Qlarion and SkillsEngine. The members have combined forces to help states implement emerging open standards that align education credentialing, skills and labor market data with career pathing solutions in a practical way.  

There are nearly 1,000,000 unique credentials offered in the U.S., and the country spends almost $2 trillion annually on education and training activities that lead to credentials. Due to the siloed systems of many governmental organizations, jobs, skills and education data often cannot be securely shared between agencies, making it hard to identify how current offerings map to labor market needs and deliver this data directly to students and local job seekers. Without accurate jobs data and career tools, these individuals lack the tools they need to make informed career decisions. With the unemployment rate currently at 6.7 percent, over 10 million Americans are in need of this support today. 

The Open Pathways Alliance will bring together states, workforce and educational institutions to deploy standards-based career planning information and resources for students and job seekers, and outline the education and skill-based qualifications they need to meet employer requirements. Empowering students and job seekers with this information will ensure the organizations they choose for training and certifications are well-aligned with the requirements of employers.

“The current global pandemic has shone a light on the substantial limitations in education and workforce data sharing,” said Michael Simpson, Chairman and CEO of PAIRIN. “Through the Open Pathways Alliance, we aim to provide states with a holistic view of their workforce and education ecosystem. This will help arm them with the information needed to strategically adjust resources to address talent pipeline gaps, and provide more accurate career and education planning resources.”

Announced today at the National Association of State Workforce Agencies’ 2021 Winter Policy Forum, the growing list of partners includes:

  • Credential EngineCredential Engine is a non-profit whose mission is to create credential transparency, reveal the credential marketplace, increase credential literacy and empower everyone to make more informed decisions about credentials and their value. Its Credential Transparency Description Language (CTDL) is the standard for describing credentials, competencies, pathways, transfer, quality indicators and outcomes as linked, open, interoperable data for use in modern, web-based navigation, guidance, digital records, and other tools and services.
  • Qlarion: Qlarion is a government innovation firm that develops data analytics solutions for the public sector, helping government leaders harness data to create lasting change and strengthen communities.
  • SkillsEngineCalibrate®, SkillsEngine’s flagship product, enables instructional designers, faculty, and industry experts to efficiently align curriculum with the skills graduates need to succeed on the job.

“We are excited about the focus on interoperability of multiple standards coming together in an actionable way to drive real change. Enabling the interoperability of disparate workforce, education and labor-market datasets can help harness the power of technology to solve some of our toughest workforce challenges,” said Beth Cobert, COO Markle Foundation and CEO Skillful. “The Rework America Alliance aims to connect workers with effective training that will lead to good, in-demand jobs. We are optimistic that technology can be used to support new ways of making these connections and improving navigation for displaced job seekers.”

The Open Pathways Alliance will leverage new and emerging standards and practices including: 

  • The Credential Transparency Description Language (CTDL): A schema of over 700 terms for describing credentials and credential-related information as linked open data. By serving as a common language to describe this information, CTDL enables universal credential comparability.
  • Open Skills RSDs | JDX | Open Outcomes/EQOS | Open Pathways 
  • American Workforce Policy Advisory Board (AWPAB) – The LER (Learner & Employment Record): A learning and employment record (LER) is a digital record of learning and work that can be linked to an individual and combined with other digital records for use in pursuing educational and employment opportunities.

Growing support for the Alliance from industry leaders includes Rework America AllianceSkillful and Jobs for the Future

To learn more about the Open Pathways Alliance, please visit

About The Open Pathways Alliance

The Open Pathways Alliance is a consortium of nonprofits and social impact technology companies that have combined forces to help states implement emerging open standards that align education credentialing, skills and labor market data with career pathing solutions in a practical way. A common taxonomy for skills and credentials, aligned with education programs that provide competencies and up-to-date labor market information, will provide states and workforce leaders a holistic view of how their education system is meeting the talent needs of their local job markets and enable a new generation of more advanced career pathing solutions for students and job seekers of all ages that more accurately reflect today’s job market with an eye to the future.


PAIRIN is a social enterprise technology provider unifying the essential content and resources provided by regional workforce, government and educational organizations to make everyone’s journey relevant and equitable. PAIRIN’s My Journey platform enables organizations to more effectively deliver career guidance, skills development and tailored community services through one easy-to-implement and easy-to-use solution. PAIRIN was founded in 2012 and is based in Denver, Colorado. For more information, visit