On September 10, 2014, the White House and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hosted a roundtable discussion, bringing together government, American industry, and education leaders. The topic of discussion was regarding how utilizing accelerated learning programs could help our nation’s military Veterans. The symposium was part of the White House’s Skills and Supplement Demand-Driven Training Initiative.
Accelerated learning is a non-traditional form of education that utilizes multiple learning styles in order to maximize learning effectiveness, and generate considerable advancements in skills and knowledge. Individuals, such as Veterans, who have had long gaps in their academic endeavors can pursue accelerated learning programs with a career or industry skills development focus in mind. Many accelerated learning programs that are currently available include accelerated certificate programs, apprenticeships, online courses and boot camps.
The VA is looking into using accelerated learning programs to enhance or replace traditional education programs for Veterans. During the initial period of exploration, the VA will focus on information technology programs due to the high demand for IT’s, optimizing Veterans’ chances for transitioning into successful careers.
The VA is attempting to develop a strategy that utilizes accelerated learning and tests its effectiveness for Veterans in projects over the next two years. In order to assist with formulating the program, collecting student data and evaluating its success, the VA will need to work in collaboration with educators and employers.
The White House and the VA plan to use the feedback provided at the roundtable discussion to maximize the effectiveness of the program.
Many Veterans and Veteran advocates have, for some time, been against the need for Veterans to go to college in order to use their benefits. Accelerated learning programs won’t likely get Veterans a degree, but they will eliminate the need for Veterans to spend several semesters taking classes simply for degree requirements in subjects that they will never need for their desired career. With a certification from an accelerated learning program, the VA hopes that Veterans will have a more direct route from the military to civilian employment.
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Military Connection: Accelerated Learning for Vets: By Debbie Gregory