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ACE Works With States to Expand Flexible Pathways Toward Post-Secondary Education

July 18, 2018


​As part of its work across many educational sectors, ACE’s Center for Education Attainment and Innovation (CEAI) has been collaborating with state institutions and systems across the country to expand flexible pathways for students through credit for prior learning (CPL) options. By increasing coordination between institutions and regional workforce needs, ACE’s partnerships and credit recommendations help students receive credit for workforce and military training—providing another option for colleges and universities that award credit for skills and knowledge gained outside the college classroom. 

ACE offers a variety of technical assistance options to facilitate and support efforts in CPL-practice implementation and degree pathways that apply credit for prior learning. Here are a few examples of those collaborations: 

Virginia: Working with ACE, the Virginia Community College System plans to expand pathway options this summer through an initiative focusing on ACE credit recommendations for corporate and workforce training, aligning those credits with general education requirements and courses in career and technical education (CTE) fields. This initiative builds on an earlier collaboration, Credits2Careers, which provides student veterans with guidance and tools for education and career planning.

Tennessee: The Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) has launched a Veteran Prior Learning Assessment initiative, which supports institutions in implementing the transfer and award of credit for military training. In addition to workshops and webinars, CEAI has provided THEC with seasoned ACE faculty reviewers to visit campuses and discuss the ACE review and recommendation process.   

Texas: The Dallas Community College District and Houston County Community College System have collaborated through a pathways initiative, with a CEAI-facilitated faculty development institute and a virtual platform. The project aims to develop and disseminate models of several replicable pathways to Texas colleges, combining industry-recognized non-credit certifications with CTE programs of study, such as automotive technology and information technology. 

Colorado: Through a virtual platform supported by CEAI, Colorado faculty from two- and four-year institutions engaged in aligning military training and occupations to Colorado’s Guaranteed Transfer Pathways for General Education Curriculum. This was part of a comprehensive plan facilitated by The Colorado Department of Higher Education to expand CPL policies and practices. 

California: The California State University, in collaboration with CEAI, provided two system-wide CPL workshops to respond to a need for greater awareness, increased training, and more consistent practices across the 23 campuses. Out of the workshops came recommendations for system- and campus-level actions to remove barriers to expanding flexible pathways and identify next steps for collaborative implementation.     

To support recognition of flexible pathways through innovative learning, CEAI also is working on a number of fronts to make it easier for working professionals to access validated evidence of their competencies gained through training.  Through a collaborative pilot with Credly, a digital credentialing platform, several ACE CREDIT® organizations—Walt Disney, KFC, Jiffy Lube, and Americorps National Civilian Community Corps—are providing their employees and program participants with badges that validate learning. In addition, another new initiative with Credly will facilitate the creation of a machine-readable official transcript of on-the-job skills. As with the digital badges, these transcripts, which will verify knowledge, skills, and abilities, can be easily shared with colleges and employers. 

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