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Alexandria College earns $1.1 million to develop Global Military Learning Network

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

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Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Dr. Tamara Arnott, dean of educational services, Alexandria Technical & Community College.
Contributed photo

ALEXANDRIA — 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 on March 14 by Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith.

“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 in a press release. “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.”

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Zachary Jans of Buffalo, Emmanuel Reyes of Perham and Mitchell Lemmer of Norwood Young America are 2021 graduates from the law enforcement program at Alexandria Technical & Community College. Reyes is a military/veteran graduate.
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“This federal funding makes an important investment in our state’s veterans and servicemembers and brings them into the pipeline for our region’s workforce – a win-win,” said Klobuchar in a press release. “I am proud to have worked with Alexandria Technical and Community College leaders to secure the resources for this project and look forward to seeing the Global Military Learning Network in action.”

“Current and former members of our military deserve access to the highest quality education,” said Smith in a press release. “This program will eliminate barriers to access for our current and former military while providing them a tailored credit and enrollment system that recognizes their valuable on-the-job skills and experience. I am proud of our efforts to secure funding for this unique program, which will help serve as a model for the rest of our state’s higher education.”

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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.

“We expect the Global Military Learning Network project to increase enrollment, diversify our student body, and contribute to the nation’s workforce,” Seymour said.
Alexandria Technical and Community College, along with its Distance Minnesota partners (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.

“There are few degree programs in the state that fully award credit for prior military learning,” said Tamara Arnott, Ph.D., dean of educational services at Alexandria College in a press release. “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.”

Klobuchar and Smith helped to secure funding for this project through a process called “Congressionally Directed Spending.” During the CDS process, Klobuchar and Smith have considered project proposals and advocated for funding in close coordination with leaders from across Minnesota.

Projects are expected to receive funding over the next several months.

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