Military & Veterans

What’s Next after Military Service

As people return from their military service, they often have concerns about their next steps: Can colleges serve their unique needs? Will they receive academic credit for what they learned in the military? Are there civilian careers that leverage their military experience? To help them get what they need to succeed in civilian life, we work with colleges on creating military-friendly policies and advising structures, awarding credit for learning from military experiences, and offering career paths into appropriate fields.

The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) helps active military and veterans return to school by providing more access to:

  • Military-friendly Colleges
  • Recognition for Life and Military Experience
  • Paths to Civilian Jobs

For more information about how CAEL can help you improve your services to student Veterans click here. You can also learn more about Veterans Healthcare Career Pathways here.

For additional educational resources, click here to visit the Military One Click website. You can also click here to learn to listen to a webinar recording CAEL participated in regarding how to better support student veterans with service animals.


Read stories about programs CAEL has designed and implemented for active duty military and veterans.

Linking Veterans to Learning and Work


Creating a more coordinated network of services for veterans.


CAEL is supporting Illinois Joining Forces, a statewide, public-private network of veteran- and military -serving organizations, through membership on its executive committee and leadership of its Education Working group.
In this role, CAEL is facilitating statewide education and activities about student veterans’ issues, from policy developments to prior learning assessment. CAEL has developed and is now implementing a statewide faculty training program.

IJF Education Working Group is also reaching out to veterans through a series of employer networking events throughout the states. These sessions include panel presentations with veterans who have succeeded in the public, private, and for profit sectors. The events also offer veterans an opportunity to network with volunteer employers.


  • Illinois Joining Forces
    Illinois Joining Forces

    Illinois Joining Forces (IJF) is a statewide, public-private network of veteran- and military-serving organizations.

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College Leaders Valuing Veterans


Robust on-campus support for student veterans requires commitment from top college and university leadership


An event, “Valuing Veterans: How Our Campuses Can Better Serve Those Who Have Served,” held in Chicago on September 27, generated support for student veterans from the presidents and provosts of Chicago-area colleges and universities and raised awareness of the needs and contributions of student veterans.

The event was attended by representatives of more than 20 Chicago-area higher education institutions whose veterans services staff were regular attendees of the McCormick Veterans Higher Education Affinity Group. A host committee included the presidents of National Louis University, Northeastern Illinois University, and the University of Illinois; the chancellor of the City Colleges of Chicago; and the Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of Public Engagement. Speakers at the event included McCormick Foundation President David Hiller, Col. David Sutherland, Illinois Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon, and ABC 7 News anchor Stacey Baca.


At the conclusion of the event, the host committee recognized the college and university leaders who had signed the Valuing Veterans pledge, which affirmed the commitment of college and university leaders to support student veterans by enhancing student veteran outreach and recognition, providing transition services, and establishing support policies and procedures.

A student veteran who was at the event said, “To see our president sign the pledge, it was a great feeling because only great things can come of this. This pledge shows a material commitment that [my college] is going to make and that the challenges veterans face are being addressed.”

Within three weeks of the event, progress had already been made at individual institutions. Two affinity group members reported the establishment of on-campus veterans centers, one reported the establishment of a 25-member cross-departmental veterans task force, and another reported plans to develop faculty and staff training on student veterans.



The college and university leaders who signed the Valuing Veterans pledge were recognized at the conclusion of the event.

Stacey Baca, anchor and reporter for Chicago’s ABC 7 News, moderated a panel of experts who discussed the experiences of student veterans on our campuses.


  • Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs
    Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs

    Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs is a state agency dedicated to empowering veterans, as well as their dependents and survivors, to thrive.

  • McCormick Foundation
    McCormick Foundation

    The McCormick Foundation is a nonprofit organization committed to strengthening our free, democratic society by investing in children, communities and country.

  • Student Veterans of America
    Student Veterans of America

    The mission of the Student Veterans of American is to provide military veterans with the resources, support, and advocacy needed to succeed in higher education and following graduation.

    Leaders of the following 24 institutions have signed the Valuing Veterans pledge:

    American InterContinental University
    Office of the Chancellor, City Colleges of Chicago
    Chicago State University
    Richard J. Daley College
    DePaul University
    DeVry University
    Governors State University
    Harold Washington College
    Joliet Junior College
    Kennedy-King College
    Malcolm X College
    McHenry County College
    Moraine Valley Community College
    National Louis University
    Northeastern Illinois University
    Northwestern University
    Oakton Community College
    Olive-Harvey College
    Prairie State College
    Robert Morris University
    Roosevelt University
    Saint Xavier University
    Truman College
    University of Illinois at Chicago