WGU Partners with Emsi on Groundbreaking Skills Architecture Initiative

Published on Jan 7, 2020

Updated on Nov 3, 2022

Written by Remie Verougstraete

WGU Partners with Emsi on Groundbreaking Skills Architecture Initiative

Western Governors University (WGU) has announced a partnership with Emsi that utilizes the Open Skills Library to power their groundbreaking skills architecture initiative. Together, WGU and Emsi are using the common language of skills to help connect students, educators, and employers. To learn more, see the full press release below and read about the pilot project with WGU.

WGU Partners with Emsi to Map Skills Students Need to Real-World Jobs

Revolutionary new initiative will help students match skills across industries

SALT LAKE CITY, UT (January 7, 2020) – Western Governors University (WGU) today announced the university will partner with Emsi, a leading labor market analytics firm, to support a groundbreaking new initiative that will map the skills and competencies WGU students acquire to real-world jobs. A leader in preparing students for career success, WGU is building on its legacy of student-focused innovation to further align its workforce-relevant curriculum to the most current and pressing employer needs by surfacing value and real-time career insights to students as they work their way to degree.

“Job seekers want to know what skills to learn that will translate into a successful career or promotion, so the creation of a personalized learning pathway that incorporates those skills and competencies will help students match their credentials with what employers want,” said Dr. Marni Baker Stein, WGU Provost and Chief Academic Officer. “WGU is building a comprehensive skills map across industries to serve as the ‘operating system’ that will maximize value to students by providing career-relevant programs, a clear way to communicate value to employers, and data-driven career assistance.” 

Emsi’s Open Skills Library identifies nearly 30,000 skills from hundreds of millions of job postings, résumés, and professional profiles and is updated every two weeks. Using artificial intelligence, the Open Skills Library will be used to match WGU’s competency-based curriculum with a list of workforce-relevant skills, allowing WGU to tailor the student learning journey even further by focusing on specific skills and competencies that match a learner’s goals. WGU is already teaching and assessing the marketable skills industry values. This new partnership will highlight the workforce relevance of a WGU degree by translating credentials and experience into the high-demand skills they represent.

“There is a lot of inefficiency in the labor market because three critical sectors – people, businesses and higher ed – have struggled to understand each other. Essentially, they need to speak the same language and we believe skills is that language. WGU is a real trailblazer in this work and their model is one of the truly innovative practices in higher ed today. We are eager to support this work so that more people can be connected to good work and so more good work can find the talent it needs to succeed,” commented Emsi’s Executive Vice President of Higher Education, Luke Jankovic.

About WGU

Established in 1997 by 19 U.S. governors with a mission to expand access to high-quality, affordable higher education, online, nonprofit WGU now serves more than 121,000 students nationwide and has more than 163,000 graduates in all 50 states. Driving innovation as the nation’s leading competency-based university, WGU has been recognized by the White House, state leaders, employers, and students as a model that works in postsecondary education. In just 22 years, the university has become a leading influence in changing the lives of individuals and families, and preparing the workforce needed in today’s rapidly evolving economy. WGU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, has been named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies, and was featured on NPR, NBC Nightly News, CNN, and in The New York Times. Learn more at www.wgu.edu.

About Emsi

Emsi provides colleges and universities with labor market data to build a better workforce and nurture strong economies, businesses, and graduates. Hundreds of institutions use Emsi to align programs with regional needs, drive enrollment, connect students with in-demand careers, track their alumni’s employment outcomes, and demonstrate their institution’s economic impact on their region. Visit www.economicmodeling.com/higher-education/.


Read more about Emsi’s work with WGU. For questions about WGU’s skills mapping initiative, please contact Melissa Luke, Senior Manager, Public Relations at WGU. For questions about Emsi’s Open Skills Library, please contact Rob Sentz, Chief Innovation Officer at Emsi.