Project Seeks New Ways for Service Members to Earn Credentials


Project Seeks New Ways for Service Members to Earn Credentials

4 organizations receive grants to build career pathways for military members and veterans

Indianapolis – (August 20, 2020)— A coalition of national education and veteran advocacy organizations has announced pilot sites in a new initiative that will help service members and veterans apply their military-based skills and training toward civilian credentials.

The coalitionwhich comprises five organizationsis supporting the Military Credentialing Advancement Initiative (MCAI). The goal of MCAI is to ensure that the high-quality learning that is gained by service members can be fully recognized, counted toward a credential and scaled at a national level.

Each of the four pilot sites are leveraging one-year grants between $150,000 and $200,000. They are using funds to build pathways that will allow service members and veteransparticularly men and women of colorto apply the skills and credentials they gained in service toward continued education and employment as civilians.

The MCAI pilot pathways grant recipients are:

  • UWUA Power for America Training Trust Fund
  • Indiana Wesleyan University
  • Kansas Board of Regents
  • Lone Star College

Technical assistance for the grantees will be provided by SOLID, LLC, a leading expert in credentialing of service members and veterans.

Statistics show that, of the roughly 200,000 veterans who enter the civilian workforce each year, only about 50,000 have the credentials they need to land good jobs with family-sustaining wages. Though the Department of Defense and Uniformed Services have taken steps to remedy this, more than 70% of former servicemen and women still must retrain, requalify or start over in education.

This is especially true for service members of color, who make up 43% of the active-duty force. One reason is this: More than half of Black, Hispanic and Native American service members are clustered in four occupations that lack clear paths to civilian credentials and jobs: food service, supply administration, combined personnel and administration, and warehousing and equipment handling.

Also, only 57% of veterans say they hold a non-degree credential, and less than 2.5% of active-duty members in 2016 had completed a degree program. These figures show that lack of recognition of learning continues to hamper service members and veterans as they pursue further education and employment.

“Our mission at Power for America (P4A) is to prepare people for informed citizenship and success in a global economy,” said Jonathan Harmon, P4A executive director. “Transitioning service members and veterans are a vital part of the civilian workforce and the work of the MCAI and its pathways is key to building stackable, transparent credentials that lead to strong employment outcomes. We are proud to be a supporter of this initiative and are excited for the work to be done by each pilot site.”

The MCAI pilot sites are supported by a coalition of five organizations:

  • The American Legion
  • Ascendium Education Group
  • Greater Texas Foundation
  • Lumina Foundation
  • Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors

Ascendium’s funding will support a detailed evaluation of the pilot initiative as it unfolds over 18 months. The formative evaluation, which will be conducted by an independent research firm, DVP-Praxis, seeks to highlight the lessons MCAI grantees learn as they map military competencies and build new credential pathways.


About MCAI: The Military Credentialing Advancement Initiative (MCAI) seeks to develop new pathways to credentials for service members and veterans. MCAI’s goal is to recommend principles and guidelines that credential providers should follow to ensure that all verified, validated military-based learning counts toward high-quality civilian credentials.


About Power for America: Power for America (P4A) was created in February 2009 by the Utility Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO, and utility industry employers to be a joint-labor-management training trust fund with the goal to improve and provide training across the utility industry. Since its inception, P4A has grown to become a national training trust organization that annually trains over 5,000 utility workers within the electric, natural gas, water and renewable energy fields.    Through positive relationships with the UWUA and national utility employers, P4A created pre-employment opportunities for our nation’s military veterans and high school students in order to equip the next generation of utility workers.

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