Digital Badges

A 21st Century Pathway to Engaging, Well-paying
Jobs Using Disruptive Technologies Like
3D Printing, AI, Robotics, and More!

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.

Scroll down to learn more about digital badges!




NEW! Advanced CAD Design Digital Badge! 

Making the transition to powerful programs like Autodesk’s Fusion 360 has a steep learning curve – but we can help with instructor-led classes.  A virtual teacher can help students avoid pitfalls, learn best practices, and make faster progress.  Like most of the New Collar Network’s digital badges, Intro to Fusion 360 is project-based allowing the student to also experience best workflow principles.

Let an instructor take your CAD design skills to a new level, quicker than you can achieve on your own!

Made Possible in Part by Partner

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 the description in the link below to 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.

Never risk safety in your lab! Awareness and good safety policies and procedures are key to ensuring the well-being of lab staff, members, students, teachers and visitors.  Our foremost concern is the safety of our people, but good safety practices can also help with insurance considerations, as well as avoid government regulation violations.

This course qualifies for a digital badge that demonstrates your skills in lab safety. 

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.  We recommend looking at printers from MatterHackers.


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.

Never risk laser safety in your lab! Lasers can cause serious irreparable damage to the eyes including blindness if eyes are not properly protected. Awareness and good safety policies and procedures are key to ensuring the well-being of lab staff, members, students, teachers and visitors.  Our foremost concern is the safety of our people, but good safety practices can also help with insurance considerations, as well as avoid government regulation violations. This course qualifies for a digital badge that demonstrates your skills in laser safety. 

Locations Offering On-site
New Collar Digital Badges

Dayton Regional STEM School
Dayton OH

Fab Lab Baltimore at the Community College of Baltimore County
Catonsville MD

Fab Lab El Paso
El Paso TX

Fab Lab Hub at New Mexico Higher Education Center
Santa Fe NM

Fab Lab Tulsa
Tulsa OK

IDEA Lab at Red Rocks Community College
Lakewood CO

Lorrain County Community College
Lorrain OH

Hartford CT

Lemelson-MIT Program
Cambridge MA

Santa Fe Community College Continuing Education
Santa Fe NM

The 3D Printing Store Powered by Accucode
Denver CO

Youngstown State University
Youngstown OH


International Education Partner

Become a New Collar Skills Digital Badge Host Site

Interested in providing Lifelong Learning to young people, students, and incumbent workers?  Contact us to learn how to join this empowering movement today!

Home/EducationPod 3DPrinters

Why wait for school to startup again or for colleges to re-open?  3D Printers are now affordable enough that you or a group can purchase your very own machine in order to complete digital badge courses!

The virtual classes are instructor-led so you’ll have help every step of the way on your path to earning digital badges and starting a new career or advancing your education.

Check out our selection of printers offered in collaboration with MatterHackers, a trusted distributor that offers a wide range of printers.  Here’s a link for our 3 top choices to get started!


New! Instructor-led Digital Badge Classes Go Virtual!

Review of Intro to Digital Design digital badge course from Leina Gries, Ponoma College student with no CAD experience:
I had no idea just how much I would get out of this digital badge!
My design grew and improved in ways I never could have initially predicted.   The collaborative aspect of this course was fantastic- I learned so much from my classmates’ perspectives and input. Now that I have completed my project that solves a problem I was having in my home aquarium, I feel I have a far better understanding of how to create functional, thoughtful, and efficient designs.

What are Digital Badges?

Conditions today require new education models. 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. The Open Badge community does not verify the underlying skill being acknowledged and it is the issuer who must be trusted for specific content.

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.

New Collar Network Digital Badges 

95% of two hundred employers interviewed for the book The New Collar Workforce said they were seeking workers with problem-solving skills, making it apparent that the hands-on project-based learning offered in Fab Labs was ideal for training the New Collar Workforce. A project portfolio could then be part of the Digital Badge supporting evidence to show how the badge earner had identified and solved a problem using New Collar skills.

A group of ten Fab Labs and businesses saw the enormous workforce development need for both employers and workers. The team started the non-profit North American Digital Fabrication Alliance [NADFA] to issue Digital Badges. “Currency” is a measurement of Digital Badge program value. With the Alliance as an official organization in the international Fab Lab Network founded at MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms and most of the founding organizations also being Fab Labs, its badges offer solid credibility.

Also important when measuring currency is the national scope of the program. We anticipate that the 350 Fab Labs in North America, along with other colleges, high schools, makerspaces, libraries and alternative learning centers will give the program solid recognition. This is important so that 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. It includes curriculum and “I can” statements, as well as video tutorials, all of which were vetted by the NADFA founding members. Lab Safety badges, created by the Los Alamos National Lab, have been funded by the New Mexico Department of Economic Development and Forest Scientific is collaborating to create badges for CNC machining. Badges in laser machining, welding, design thinking and entrepreneurship are forthcoming.

Initial results have been overwhelmingly positive. Students 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 6-week 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.