Online, Self Paced, Digital Badge Certification Courses From The New Collar Network

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Digital Badges – the 21st Century Lifelong Learning Credential


Digital Badges are micro-certifications that provide affordable, short-term verifications of specific skills.  New Collar Network digital badges are issued by the North American Digital Fabrication Alliance, a non-profit organization of Fab Labs, makerspaces, businesses, colleges and K – 12 schools that is a recognized organization in the international Fab Lab Network founded at MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms.


What are Digital Badges?


Digital Badges are the new educational model for affordable well-paying career pathways. As Blue Collar jobs become digital New Collar Jobs, a 4-year or even a 2-year degree is not required opening options for training programs. Digital Badges are one such way to verify a skill and train New Collar workers.


Verifiable, portable Digital Badges include embedded metadata about skills and achievements. They comply with the Open Badges Specification that is maintained by an international standards body, OpenBadge, to ensure the integrity of the platform. Adhering to the standards enable students and employers to trust the quality of the badge that is being issued.


Each Open Badge embeds information about the badge, its recipient, the issuer, and any supporting evidence that might include photos, videos and other media. The data is then packaged within a badge image file that can be displayed via online resumes, portfolios, issuer website, or social networks. Like Boy or Girl Scout Badges, digital badges focus on one specific skill and can be stacked into higher-level credentials.


Companies such as IBM Authorized Training, Adobe and Cisco have long used digital Badges as a certification platform for their specific training programs. Many colleges including Colorado State University, Seton Hall University, Santa Fe Community College’s Continuing Education Department, and the University of Illinois/Champagne-Urbana as well as non-profits such as the Smithsonian Institution and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting have added Digital Badges to their education offerings. There is overwhelming evidence that the need for these credentials is now in high demand in today’s high-tech world, which is laid out in the book, The New Collar Workforce, written by Visionary Hi-Tech Mover and Shaker, Sarah Boisvert, the woman who helped bring us the laser technology behind LASIK eye surgery. Today, she envisions this as the truly accessible pathway that will usher in the new middle class and meet the high demand for “problem-solvers” by employers across all sectors of the economy.


The Curriculum and Credentials


The curriculum is self-paced utilizing an on-line platform as well as project-based learning which results in “I can” statements, as well as video tutorials, and a professional portfolio which are vetted by the NADFA founding members. Students will also have special New Collar Network Forum access to brainstorm and get answers to common questions and troubleshooting.


The project portfolio is part of the Digital Badge supporting “Evidence” demonstrating how the Badge Earner identified and solved a problem using New Collar skills.


The Badge Currency holds national and international credibility expanding opportunities for all. A credential earned in Boston will have the same underlying quality as one issued in Raton, New Mexico. With funding from America Makes, NADFA member Fab Lab Hub created the initial New Collar Workforce badges for additive manufacturing.


The non-profit North American Digital Fabrication Alliance [NADFA] consisting of a group of Fab Labs and businesses issues the Digital Badges. The Alliance is an official organization in the international Fab Lab Network founded at MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms which provides solid credibility to the badges and its “Currency” which is a measurement of Digital Badge program value. The 350 Fab Labs in North America, along with other colleges, high schools, makerspaces, libraries and alternative learning centers also give the program solid recognition.


Digital Badges Provide Engaging Well-Paying Career Pathways 


Students of all ages have found New Collar jobs using skills learned in the Digital Badge program and companies have also up-skilled incumbent workers to add skills utilizing new technologies. A few badge holders have also started their own companies, forging an entrepreneur’s path that started with a single on-line class. At an average of 6 weeks completion time and about a $250 investment, Digital Badges are economical in both time and cost. Our hope is that Digital Badges can create opportunity for everyone in The New Collar Workforce.



Instructor-led Digital Badge Classes Go Virtual!



Looking for a new skill that is needed across industries? While new technologies like 3D Printing, AI, laser machining, and wearable circuits are popping up everywhere, Digital Design is key to working with these tools.  You must first master basic design concepts before jumping into this new Future of Work!

This Digital Badge certifies your ability to work in 3D Design and is the pre-requisite for our 3D Printing, Laser cutting, CNC machining and other classes.


Check out Intro to Digital Design and see how you can learn a new, engaging, fun skill that leads to many new careers.


No experience required, and ideal for high school and college students as well as Lifelong Learners of any age who are looking to change careers or start a digital business.


Learn how Computer Aided Manufacturing [CAM] principles convert design files to the FDM 3D Printer machine code software in order to translate the design for printing.  CAM is an essential step required to print your ideas!


Gain the skills to make your printed products look absolutely professional. You’ll learn the tips and tricks for ways to make post-processing easier and different ways of creating finishes and techniques to make them truly shine. You’ll also learn how the materials you print in affect post-processing procedures while also their corresponding proper safety protocols.


Learn what it takes to keep your 3D Printer functioning properly as well as how to avoid common pitfalls that can result in unproductive prints. Save money and time by learning best practices. Upskill in your current job or qualify for a new career by earning a badge that verifies your ability to successfully operate an FDM 3D Printer.  This course qualifies for a digital badge that demonstrates your skills in not just 3D Printing but 3D Printer maintenance.


Design for FDM [extrusion-based] 3D Printing – your start to a new career in 3D Printing.

Whether you are adding 3D Printing to a current job or looking for a fresh start in an exciting new field, Design for FDM 3D Printing is the first step in your journey.

Check out the details today on this short-duration, fun, affordable class that gives you an industry-recognized credential.

Learn how to apply Digital Design principles to the specific requirements of FDM 3D Printing processes.  This course also shows you how to take advantage of 3D Printing’s unique capabilities.  Taught online by Fab Lab Hub, you’ll see your designs come to life – virtually!


Pre-requisite: Intro to Design Digital Badge or Equivalent


Don’t go it alone! Learn best practices for operating an FDM 3D Printer!  The instructor will be able to answer your questions about generic FDM 3D Printer operation regardless of brand and will lead you through a project that earns a Digital Badge.


Access to an FDM 3D Printer required.