Servicemembers demonstrate high standards of proficiency in their training and occupational experiences. They bring to postsecondary education and the workforce considerable skills and knowledge gained from years of military service. However, colleges, universities and training organizations don’t consistently recognize the skills and experiences that these learners have. When the skills they gained in service are not mapped to credentials, opportunities for this population of learners are limited.
Through our Streamline Key Learner Transitions focus area, we invest in projects that aim to improve systems of credit applicability for learners from low-income backgrounds, including veterans. By supporting new pathways between military competencies and high-quality civilian credentials, we envision broader recognition of individuals with military training and experience upon entering postsecondary education and the workforce. Additionally, Ascendium believes veterans’ specialized training and unique experiences can serve as the basis for a nontraditional pathway to and through postsecondary education.
We were pleased to have recently supported DVP-Praxis in their evaluation of the Military Credentialing Advancement Initiative, a project of Lumina Foundation that sought to improve how civilian education and training programs recognize military learning for servicemembers. A scaling guide was created from the evaluation and can be used to implement a process for recognizing skills and competencies of servicemembers across multiple military occupations.
The scaling guide outlines how to approach the mapping of military to civilian learning from the perspective of a postsecondary education system, a postsecondary education institution and an industry training organization. An example of how each entity recognized military learning is provided, detailing key strategies used to help navigate accreditation. Important lessons, considerations and recommendations for scale and organization across these three perspectives are also shared.
A number of funding partners worked together to support this project, including Greater Texas Foundation, Lumina Foundation and Trellis Foundation. By putting the focus of mapping military to civilian credentials on the institution or organization rather than the learner, we anticipate easier transitions to postsecondary education and the workforce for veterans as there are more consistent methods of recognizing their competencies.