By Lisa Lutz, SOLID, LLC
In a continually evolving modern labor landscape, the ability to supply certifiable, documented proof of skills, technical education and experience can be critical to professional success. Particularly in this era of coronavirus when demands for skilled labor are increasing and other typically stable fields are experiencing record unemployment, workers with verified credentials, licenses or certifications may get a leg up. At the same time, society is also becoming more cognizant of populations in which disparities exist, where credentialing efforts may be of particular value. One such population is the military.
Though the military has embraced credentialing to support the service member’s entire life cycle (recruiting, professional development, retention and to facilitate a seamless transition to the civilian workforce), there is still significant work to be done by the credentialing community to ensure equity of access and outcome, which becomes particularly important during transition.
As we consider the sacrifices made by those who have served the U.S., we ought to also consider what their lives will look like post-service. After fulfilling their commitment to their country, how can we ensure that the high-quality training, education and experience they received will translate to a prosperous post-service career?
The military community often faces barriers to attainment, including residency requirements (complicated by frequent relocation or deployment) and a lack of basic understanding of equivalencies between military and civilian education and training.
Military and Credentialing Taskforce and the Military and Veterans Toolkit
I am proud to serve as chair of the Military and Credentialing Taskforce, as part of I.C.E.’s Government Affairs Committee, alongside Sue Jackson (Pearson VUE), Kelly Marcavage (Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance) and Susan Davis-Becker (ACS Ventures, LLC). On the taskforce, our goal is to continue addressing the needs of the military community and the barriers they face, ensuring high-value credentials are attainable for service members, veterans and their families, as well as providing clear pathways and resources for credentialing agencies to support these efforts.
As part of this work, on April 22 the taskforce launched the Military and Veterans Toolkit on the I.C.E. website, compiling numerous resources, best practices and guidelines for furthering access to credentialing for service members and veterans. The toolkit provides easy access to resources and information to simplify the process and encourage agencies/stakeholders to get involved in these important efforts.
Within the toolkit, you will find information on the most important considerations when examining how to include service members and veterans in your credentialing programs or practices, including:
- Getting approved for government funding
- Facilitating access to geographically dispersed populations
- Recognizing military training and experience in eligibility requirements.
Facilitating the Credentialing of Service Members and Veterans
Those interested in helping service members and veterans attain these high-value civilian credentials to build successful post-service careers should first develop a baseline understanding of the military, including its structure, occupations, training and more.
Understanding Military Occupation Codes (MOCs), for example, can aid in translating military skills and experiences into their civilian counterparts. A comprehensive understanding is key to crafting credentialing practices and programs that address the unique needs of the military community. Providing accommodations for these needs could include measures like accepting national exams in lieu of state exams, offering training programs that address gaps in previous experience or waiving residency requirements for licensure.
Granting full recognition of an individual’s military training and experience will be critical; every effort should be made to assess equivalencies for credentialing requirements and provide maximum credit for equivalent experience. When possible, define alternative pathways to fulfilling degree requirements, like accepting related experience in lieu of a degree. Addressing eligibility or documentation requirements will also be important to consider and can begin with reviewing standard military documentation and service records.
Facilitating credentialing for service members and veterans is and should be an ongoing process, with new insights and recommendations coming out regularly. The recommendations listed here are just a few of the many factors credentialing agencies should consider, but more in-depth information and resources may be found in the Military and Veterans Toolkit.
Thanks to I.C.E. for recognizing the needs of our deserving service members and veterans!
I.C.E. and members of the Military Credentialing Taskforce unveiled the Military and Veterans Toolkit and discussed the resources it provides for credentialing agencies interested in providing critical support to this population in the “Credentialing of Military and Veterans Toolkit” webinar. Click here for webinar details and access.