The Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, in cooperation with the Illinois Community College Board, several community colleges, the Illinois Board of Higher Education and MyCreditsTransfer, recently completed a collaborative project to grant veteran and military students appropriate academic credit for the education and training they gained in military service.
In this â€œMaking Military Training Countâ€ initiative, the College of DuPage, College of Lake County, Heartland Community College, Kaskaskia Community College, and Southwestern Illinois College reviewed military programs of instruction documents from among the ten military career fields with the largest number of service members provided by the Department of Defense and worked to develop articulated educational credit that applied directly to an educational major in Illinois. As a result, servicemen and women can enter community college with earned course credits, useful credits that apply toward meeting degree requirements, simply by documenting their already-completed military training.
The amount of educational credit granted by each school for a specific military career field ranged from 3 to 31 credit hours, so roughly one college course through to a full year of full-time study.Â One highlight from the program is Southwestern Illinois Collegeâ€™s decision to grant 31 credit hours toward the electrical and electronics repair educational field for service members that served in the U.S. Navy as an electronics technicians.Â The project also resulted in community colleges granting military credit toward an educational objective for those who served in the areas of computer support/information technology and fire science.
The results of the project are available to service members through the Transferology web site (www.transferology.com).Â DePaul University and the City Colleges of Chicago also contributed military credit articulations to the Transferology site, outside of the project, increasing the opportunities for veteran/military students to determine how their military experience may be accepted in transfer.Â All schools who evaluate military credit have since been invited by CollegeSource (the maker of Transferology) to use a free service for publishing military articulations in Transferology, a service the company typically restricts to paid subscribing colleges and universities. This means that those who are planning to transition from military service into civilian life by going to college or university to earn a professional certificate or an academic degree will be able to use this free online tool to explore which colleges and universities will award useful credit based on the competencies they developed through the training they experienced while in the military. Because of Illinoisâ€™ work with CollegeSource and the companyâ€™s offer to expand access to all colleges and universities, returning servicemen and women will have access to the most comprehensive information possible, helping them make good informed choices.
The Making Military Training Count collaboration builds upon the work of Governor Quinnâ€™s administration to assess military training against the academic and experiential requirements for state licenses. Illinois has already enacted several executive orders and public acts to help veterans and military personnel in this regard. On February 6, 2013, Governor Pat Quinn issued Executive Order 13-02 that tasks state agencies to identify overlaps and gaps between military training and state licenses and to propose recommendations by which assessment processes can be implemented that allow such training and education to be considered for purposes of state licensure requirements.
Under Governor Quinnâ€™s leadership, Illinois was one of six states selected for a unique program to help those leaving military service attain certification for in-demand civilian careers. The Veterans Licensing and Certification Demonstration Policy Academy, formed by the National Governors Association (NGA), helps selected states create clear pathways for veterans to obtain state-level credentials for certain law enforcement and health care careers. This innovative work that Illinois and the other five states are doing will serve as models for all states.
Earlier this month, the Lumina Foundation announced a $900,000 grant to the Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC), in which State of Illinois is a member, to identify policies and practices to help military service members, veterans, and their families overcome barriers to access, participation, and completion of a postsecondary credential and entrance into the workforce.