Midwest states collaborate to provide military guide for prior learning assessment

Posted: Wednesday, August 3, 2016 - 12:27

Minneapolis, MN — The Multi-State Collaborative on Military Credit (MCMC), a 13-state initiative of the Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC), has recently completed an online resource, Valuing Military Learning - A Guide to Military Prior Learning Assessment and More, designed for servicemembers and veterans in the healthcare field to assist them in their transition into the civilian workforce by obtaining career credentials through prior learning assessment (PLA).

“With growing healthcare industry needs, the states recognize the need to provide a useful tool for military personnel in their pursuit of higher education,” stated Larry Isaak, MHEC president. “Valuable skills and knowledge have been gained by these men and women through their service to this country and it is our goal to steer them towards opportunities that make use of these same skillsets through receipt of higher education credentials.”

The online guide is part of a project, funded with a $200,000 grant from USA Funds, to smooth the pathway through education to employment for military servicemembers, veterans and their families. USA Funds is a nonprofit organization that works to enhance student success in college and career.

“One of the best ways we can show our thanks for the service that members of the military have provided us is to support them with a clear path to a rewarding career, recognizing the skills and competencies they gained while in the service,” said Carol D’Amico, USA Funds executive vice president, National Engagement and Philanthropy. “USA Funds is pleased to support this multi-state collaboration to help veterans complete the education and training they need to successfully transition to the civilian workforce.”

MHEC worked closely with the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) to produce the online guide which provides guidance for military personnel in applying and enrolling in college, obtaining college credit for military learning, and funding for their education.

“We valued the opportunity to collaborate with MHEC and the MCMC member states to ease the transition for returning veterans into higher education and, ultimately, a healthcare career.  Veterans can use this resource as a starting point for going to college. They can also learn about how PLA can save them time and money. The resource includes a listing of bridge programs in their states which give credit for their military learning through PLA, as well as sharing additional state veteran resources,” said Amy Sherman, associate vice president of innovation and policy for CAEL. States have provided additional testimonials with program highlights that recognize military training. “These examples of successful veterans in bridge programs show that it is possible to make your military learning count with PLA,” she added.

The progress of the MCMC initiative in each of MHEC’s 12-state region (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin), plus the state of Kentucky, are documented on the MHEC website. A leadership team of representatives from the 13 states along with additional experts in the field serve on workgroups and exchange information and share best practices in the areas of articulation of credit, certification and licensure, communication, and data/technology.

“We hope this online guide is used by servicemembers, veterans, and college counselors alike, as they prepare to, or are in the process of leaving the military,” said Dan Cullen, deputy director for Academic Affairs at the Illinois Board of Higher Education and a member of the MCMC Executive Committee. “It is one of our goals to address this ever-growing population of experienced military healthcare professionals get the credit they deserve after providing these same types of medical experiences for our country.” Learn more at www.mhec.org/mcmc.

Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC) is a nonprofit regional organization assisting Midwestern states in advancing higher education through interstate cooperation and resource sharing. MHEC seeks to fulfill its interstate mission through programs that expand postsecondary opportunity and success; promote innovative approaches to improving institutional and system productivity; improve affordability to students and states; and enhance connectivity between higher education and the workplace. Member states are: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Learn more at www.mhec.org.

The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) is a nonprofit 501(c) (3) organization based in Chicago, Illinois that assists adults with their educational endeavors, finding practical ways to earn college credit for learning acquired through training and work experiences. CAEL works with the public sector, private sector industries and higher education institutions to ensure that adult students, including military-connected students, receive the most efficient training and education to occupy a meaningful professional place in a 21st century economy. Since 1974, CAEL has assisted colleges and universities in providing college credit for prior learning. CAEL is the recognized national expert on a method known as portfolio assessment, and their Ten Standards for Assessing Learning are used by colleges and universities, as well as accrediting organizations, across the country. Learn more at www.cael.org

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Media Contacts
Mary Roberson, Director of Communications and Marketing
Midwestern Higher Education Compact
612-677-2765 | maryr@mhec.org

Debra Steele, Director of Marketing and Communications
The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL)
312-499-2620 | dsteele@cael.org