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Register now for the 2023 CAEL Conference in Baltimore, MD!

A New Calling: Connecting Veterans With Civilian Education and Employment

Veterans are highly trained professionals. Their service experience and training can lead to skills, abilities, and knowledge areas valuable in academic pursuits and many civilian occupations. But navigating education-employment pathways that lead to rewarding careers can be challenging. 

Questions veterans face include: Are colleges capable of meeting their needs? Will their military learning be recognized for academic credit? Will civilian hiring managers value their military experience and the competencies it developed? In addition, many veterans find that it is not always easy — from a cultural standpoint — to make the adjustment from military life to academia or the workplace.

Recognition for Life and Military Experience

CAEL works with postsecondary institutions to help them develop policies and resources that support the success of student veterans. This includes military-friendly advising and peer support structures, processes for evaluating and awarding credit for military learning, and crosswalks from military occupations to rewarding civilian career paths. CAEL also works with  regional employer groups around veteran hiring to support talent pipelines.

For more information about how CAEL can help postsecondary institutions better support student veterans and how CAEL works with local employers to include veterans in their talent pipelines, click here.

Spotlight on: The Veterans in Higher Education Affinity Group 

Since 2011, CAEL has collaborated with a variety of local and national partners to ensure that military veterans are positioned to thrive at Chicago-area colleges and universities. Through its leadership of the Veterans Higher Education Affinity Group (VHEAG), CAEL has fostered a community of local postsecondary administrators who are committed to excellence in student veteran services. This group provides local higher education institutions with opportunities to learn from each other as well as from national experts in the field.

Learn more.


Linking Veterans to Learning and Work

Developing Military to Civilian Accelerated/Bridge Programs in Healthcare

Tens of thousands of military personnel serve in healthcare support occupations, including Army medics, Navy corpsmen, and Air Force medical technicians. Many of these service members may be interested in continuing to do similar work when they transition to civilian careers, and their previous training and experience position them to meet some of the critical healthcare demands facing the country. Colleges and universities should consider how allied health care training programs might establish pathways for these veterans that recognize their military training so that they can accelerate to a credential based on what they already know and can do.  Developing Military to Civilian Accelerated/Bridge Programs in Healthcare offers models for institutions to consider, identified from a national scan of select related programs, focusing on opportunities for Army Medics (68W) in nursing and allied health occupations.

Valuing Military Learning 

This guide is designed for servicemembers and veterans who are thinking about enrolling in postsecondary education. The guide provides helpful information about how to apply, how to get college credit for military training, and how to maximize veterans’ educational benefits (such as those in the GI Bill).  Originally intended for veterans who had health care related occupations while in the military, the guide also offers information on select programs in the civilian healthcare field that could be particular good fits for their prior training and experience. The Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC) worked closely with CAEL to produce this online guide; it was made possible by a grant from Strada Education Network (formerly USA Funds; today, CAEL is an affiliate organization of Strada). Download Valuing Military Learning – a Guide to Military Prior Learning Assessment and More

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I have great takeaways from each of these meetings. I appreciate the professional development I receive here. The external speakers and time to network with our colleagues in the field is invaluable!
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Julie Carballo
Director of First Generation Initiatives, Veteran and Military-Affiliated Student Services Student Affairs
North Central College

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If your institution or organization is seeking guidance, solutions, or support from CAEL, or if you have an idea for a future collaboration initiative with us, please reach out. We'd love to connect.

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