Central Texas College (CTC) is one of seven community colleges chosen to help military veterans return to the classroom through the new College Credit for Heroes program. Administered by the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), the $3 million workforce development program was designed to recognize the exceptional knowledge and skills gained by military service members and award them college credits for their military experience thus allowing these veterans to more easily re-enter the workforce.
College Credit for Heroes, which began as SB 1736, was established to maximize academic credit awarded by higher education institutions to veterans and military service members. Signed into law this week, the program enables the participating schools to provide models for awarding college credit by evaluating military training, including testing and prior learning assessments which other Texas colleges may replicate. There will be a focus on allied health careers, and the initiative will partner with the Military Education Training Center (METC) in San Antonio to provide current active duty service members with an accelerated degree plan.
“We are certainly proud to be one of the schools selected to initiate this program,” said Bill Alexander, CTC deputy chancellor. “We couldn’t be more pleased to further our longstanding relationship with the military through College Credit for Heroes.”
The program builds on the Texas Veterans Leadership Program, a TWC initiative that connects veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with the tools they need to assimilate into civilian life by providing employment and training services, resources and referrals. Together these programs help prepare veterans for academic and professional success. Specifically through College Credit for Heroes, experience, education and training obtained during military service will be evaluated for college credit in order to expedite the entry of veterans and military service members into the workforce.
According to the Texas Veterans Commission, Texas is home to 1.8 million military veterans, including 450,000 who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. College Credit for Heroes helps address high unemployment rates seen in veterans who served on active duty after September 2001.
As part of the College Credit for Heroes initiative, each of the seven participating community colleges will develop curriculum models that streamline the award of college credits. In addition to CTC, the selected schools were Temple College, Alamo Colleges (San Antonio), Lone Star College System (greater Houston area), Lee College (Baytown), San Jacinto College and Houston Community College (both in Houston). The schools were specifically chosen for their high veteran population in each area.
For CTC, $1,053,000 was dedicated through College Credit for Heroes to develop a web-based application and database for veterans and service members to receive additional college credit hours. The initiative will standardize evaluations of military training and experience to ensure maximum credit hours are awarded across Texas institutions attended. Temple College received $219,000 to be used in the development and implementation of an accelerated program in emergency medical services (EMS) for veterans and service members with military medical experience.