Leverage earned workforce credentials for academic credit
The Virginia Community College System has been awarded a $350,000 grant from Lumina Foundation to make it easier for individuals who have earned postsecondary workforce credentials to translate them into credit in traditional degree programs.
Making these pathways easier to understand, and use, will help adult learners, especially those from underserved populations, reach the next step in their career journey. Lumina’s All Learning Counts initiative will support VCCS to ensure that knowledge, skills, and abilities gained outside of formal higher education—through work, military, and other experiences—can be recognized and applied toward programs leading to credentials of value, and ultimately, better jobs and careers.
The VCCS received one of nine grants awarded nationwide from a pool of 78 applicants. Other recipients include: District 1199C Training and Upgrading Fund, Mi Casa Resource Center, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, Nicolet College, SUNY Empire State College, the University of Maine System and the University of Wisconsin System.
The grant will allow the VCCS to apply lessons learned from the current online credit for prior learning portal available for military members and veterans to expand this process and technology to individuals who hold or earn high-demand credentials. A major outcome is to ensure a consistent process for awarding credit for prior learning across all Virginia Community Colleges. The grant will also help colleges reach historically underserved adult learners who may be eligible for credit for prior learning.
“The VCCS proudly awards credit for prior learning for our men and women in the military but we know there are many others who carry great technical experience but don’t have the credentials to show for it. Thanks to Lumina, we are well on our way to expanding credit for prior learning to community college students across the state,” said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges.
“Through All Learning Counts, we are recognizing exemplars who want to ensure many more Americans will have skills they need to thrive by earning college degrees, certificates, and industry certifications,” said Haley Glover, the Lumina strategy director who will provide leadership for the grant program. “We need to think in new ways about the recognition of learning after high school. We must see that all college-level learning, regardless of how and where it is gained, can be applied toward meaningful post-high school credentials.”