College earns $1.1 million to develop Minnesota’s Global Military Learning Network

Mar 15, 2022 | 3:13 PM
Alexandria Technical & Community College will lead the development of Minnesota’s Global Military Learning Network thanks to $1.1 million in federal funding.

The announcement of federal funding for Alexandria College and five other projects at colleges of Minnesota State totaling $7.7 million was made by Senator Tina Smith on March 14.

“This is an exciting opportunity for the college and our partners to innovate how we deliver education and award degrees to Minnesota military servicemembers and veterans,” said Alexandria College President Michael Seymour. “The funds support a pilot project that will serve as a proof of concept for all of Minnesota’s higher education sector. We are thankful to Senators Tina Smith and Amy Klobuchar for their support and leadership.” 

As military leaders recognize the importance of higher education in improving operational readiness and warfighting capability, more service members are being encouraged to attend college while serving. The Minnesota Global Military Learning Network will help service members leverage their education while serving to streamline degree completion while enlisted, and veterans to quickly complete an area of study and enter the workforce. The core goals are to:

  • Reduce the time and cost required to earn a degree by awarding credit for military learning and occupational experiences
  • Increase the number of military graduates available to meet workforce needs
  • Eliminate the cost of remedial coursework
  • Streamline military admissions processes, making it easy for service members to locate completion degree options
  • Develop a secure military-friendly enrollment portal

The Fiscal Year 2022 government funding package now heads to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law.

“We expect the Global Military Learning Network project to increase enrollment, diversify our student body, and contribute to the nation’s workforce,” Seymour said.

This innovative project furthers Alexandria College’s mission to provide opportunities as a Military Friendly Silver Award school, offering services for veterans, active service members and their families from admissions through graduation. Alexandria College has worked closely in partnership with the U.S. Naval Community College and their Nuclear Engineering Technology associate degree program in their Pilot I and II phases.

An advisory committee representing all branches of the military and veterans affairs officials is being created to identify academic programs and services that reflect the interests of servicemembers and alignment with civilian employment opportunities.

“Within the changing higher education landscape, recognition of the civilian value of the education and training provided by our armed forces is important work,” said Tamara Arnott, Ph.D., Dean of Educational Services at Alexandria College. Nominations for participants for the advisory committee can contact Tamara Arnott.

Alexandria Technical and Community College, along with its Distance Minnesota partners in the Global Military Learning Network (Bemidji State University, Northwest Technical College, and Northland Technical and Community College) will jointly provide leadership in development of a military transfer curriculum portal that will provide complete analysis of Military Occupational Codes to degree completion programs. The staff provided in this project will assist faculty in articulating more military courses to high demand occupations or transfer pathways.

“There are few degree programs in the state that fully award credit for prior military learning,” Arnott said. “In combination with leveraging existing Minnesota State resources and infrastructure, this project will provide up to 45 credits for specified technical programs by aligning/articulating military training and experience with career-oriented civilian degree programs.”

The tangibles from a Minnesota Global Military Learning Network will benefit the state and the nation. Project deliverables include up to five degree programs, the development of a military admissions website, short and/or accelerated prep courses, a credit for prior learning matrix, transcript clearinghouse and other universal utilities and streamlined enrollment processes.

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