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Midwest States Collaborate to Provide Military Guide for Prior Learning Assessment

In collaboration with CAEL, 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). The resource includes a listing of bridge programs in MCMC states which give credit for their military learning through PLA; testimonials from student veterans who have benefited from PLA; and a state-by-state listing of veteran resources.

“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.”

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