We are excited that we plan to release Northstar V 2.0 October 28. The updates will include a newly designed website and a completely rebuilt admin portal for testing-location admins and proctors. In anticipation of this release, please plan on not using the Northstar website the weekend of October 27 and 28, as our current website will be unavailable. Admins and proctors will receive communications this month with more information on how to best prepare for the upgrade. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter to receive updates as the release approaches.


Employers can be confident that jobseekers with Certificates have demonstrated competence in basic digital literacy skills listed. The standards include basic computer competency benchmarks needed for many jobs. Online assessment modules were designed by professional educators to measure mastery of the benchmarks in a comprehensive manner. They were extensively piloted at a number of sites to ensure reliability.

The assessments do not rely on independent, potentially subjective judgment of user ability. Instead, they assess user knowledge in an objective manner, relying on carefully designed questions requiring users to demonstrate the skills assessed according to predefined and validated values.

"Basic computer skills are vital for a successful job search and for working in nearly every job. Applicants who hold the NorthStar Digital Literacy Certificate are able to prove to potential employers that they can comfortably navigate the Internet, create documents, and perform business using email. Job seekers with computer skills will find greater opportunities for better jobs with higher pay while the business community benefits from a prepared workforce."

Karyn Berg
Career and Business Specialist,
Ramsey County Workforce Solutions

"These days, every employee needs basic computer skills to perform even most entry level jobs. The Northstar Digital Literacy Project could help job seekers demonstrate to employers that they have mastered basic skills."

Dan Strittmater
Presbyterian Homes and Services

“We first started looking at this when some of our WIA participants were dropping out of training programs because they were unable to keep up with the technology demands with the training vendor. The number of people being put into training programs, and washing out because they couldn't handle the computer aspect of their education (was high). Some didn't know how to turn a computer on. We also knew that job seekers walking in to the job centers lacked basic computer skills to do job search, online applications and resume development.

“We began marketing the assessments and basic computer courses to promote employment success. With separate assessments for Word, Excel, WWW, email, Windows 7, Mac OS X, and social media, the employers can choose which of the assessments suit their needs to know about their applicants. Since we started…our Job Center has started, and subsequently expanded, computer classes to the general public to try to address a significant need for these skills, especially for the older workers who maybe didn't have exposure to them in school. Nearly every job requires some kind of computer skills these days. We can give anecdotal testimony that we have less people dropping out of training programs, and we have good employment performance as measured by WIA.“

The North Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board, which has administered over 3,500 Northstar assessments.

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