Legion, others looking to remove credentialing barriers
The American Legion has long sought out a more streamlined process for the credentialing, licensing and certification needs of the veteran population as it transitions from the military into the civilian workforce. Through national summits, testimony before Congress and its 2017 report, “The State of Credentialing of Service Members and Veterans”, American Legion advocacy in this area has continued to grow.
Another step in that process is the recent formation of an American Legion-led roundtable that brings together experts in the credentialing field and teams them up with members of the academic community to gain a complete view of the credentialing process and where improvements can be made.
The American Legion was able to secure a grant from the Lumina Foundation during the 2019 National Convention in Indianapolis. The Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation whose focus is making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all through a system easy to navigate that delivers fair results, and meets the nation’s need for talent through a broad range of credentials.
John Kamin, assistant director in The American Legion’s Veterans Employment and Education Division, said the grant was “essentially to build capacity for our work on our licensing and credentialing by commissioning a study, which we’re calling the Military Credentialing Advancement Study. We put together a roundtable of experts in credentialing. We’re having them study best practices and models for success in a couple different areas.”
The group already has met twice, and a March meeting and at least one follow-up meeting are on the horizon. Kamin said the goal is for the meetings to produce a report similar to American Legion System Worth Saving reports, which provide detailed information on various Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities following veteran town halls, site visits and interviews with VA staff.
“The target audience (for the report) is really policy makers, non-profits, academia and industry,” Kamin said. “An easier way to look at it is employment pathways for veterans. Credentialing is really … where the rubber meets the road when it comes to people wanting to hire veterans. What’s the reason they can’t? The reason they can’t is because they don’t have the job requirements companies are looking for.
“So we’re looking at the reasons that exist for those lack of requirements and models for lowering those barriers. Industry is a big part of it, but academia is a major part too because most of the models have some form of education involved.”
Other members of the roundtable are:
• Jennifer Worth, Senior Vice President, Workforce and Economic Development, American Association of Community Colleges.
• Keith Boring, Director, Navy Credentialing Program.
• Lauren Runco, Strategy Officer for Military-Based Learning, Lumina.
• Elizabeth Murray-Belcaster, CEO, EMB Consultants Inc.
• Richard Passarelli, National Director of Veterans Affairs, Utility Workers Union of America.
• Terrell Odom, Associate Director for Programs and Services for Military-Affiliated Community, University of Chicago.
• Brien Walton, Professor of Entrepreneurship, Husson University; CEO of Acadia Capital Management II Inc.
• Deidra L. Jackson, Managing Partner, Opus Strategies.
• Esmerelda Silva, Vice President, Trident University.
• Lisa Lutz, President/CEO, SOLID LLC.
• Andrew Morton, Director of Certification Affairs, SHRM.
• Ret. Col. Sam Whitehurst, Vice President, Dixon Center for Military and Veterans Services.
• Babs Chase, Vice President of Military and Veterans Programs, The Manufacturing Institute.