Dems: “Prior learning” can help build a skilled workforce

September 8, 2016

By 2020, 65 percent of jobs will require a college degree or postsecondary credential. However, at current rates of degree completion, the nation may see a shortage of five million skilled workers, according to a 2015 report by the Council for Adult & Experiential Learning.


Prior Learning Assessment may help by awarding college credit to Iowans for knowledge, skills and abilities they’ve gained outside the classroom.


The report outlines approaches states are taking to incorporate Prior Learning Assessment. Approaches include evaluating individualized student portfolios, corporate and military training-program evaluations and exams.


Iowa is among the states participating in prior learning initiatives. Iowa is part of a 13-state Collaborative on Military Credit, which aims to smooth the transition to civilian employment for military service members, veterans and their families.


The Collaborative on Military Credit is working to increase:

  • Service member degree completion
  • The number of institutions that provide course equivalencies for military experience
  • The number of states that accept military training as progress toward licensure or certification


The Multi-State Collaborative on Military Credit recently completed an online guide to help service members and veterans in the health care field obtain career credentials.

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