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Lumina Foundation Grants Support Organizations that Recognize Learning Outside the Classroom

In an effort to build clearer credential pathways for adult learners — particularly people of color and Native learners — Lumina Foundation has awarded $3.5 million in grants to nine organizations that are "working to ensure that knowledge, skills, and abilities gained outside formal higher education — through work, military, and other experiences — can be recognized and applied toward programs that lead to credentials of value."

The All Learning Counts initiative reviewed applications from a wide range of education providers, including colleges and universities, employers, workforce training entities, state systems and consortia. Some of the factors considered:

  • Quality, making sure learning is supported by competency frameworks that outline assessable learning outcomes, skills and competencies;
  • Readiness for scale, the ability to reach many learners and reach across organizations;
  • Innovation, finding creative and efficient ways to recognize learning;
  • Provider connections, leveraging partnerships to build pipelines for adult learners; and
  • Strategic integration with other efforts that complement the recognition of non-institutional learning.

The final nine grant recipients are:  

"Through All Learning Counts, we are recognizing exemplars who want to ensure many more Americans will have skills they need to thrive by earning college degrees, certificates, and industry certifications," said Haley Glover, Lumina strategy director, in a statement. "We need to think in new ways about the recognition of learning after high school. We must see that all college-level learning, regardless of how and where it is gained, can be applied toward meaningful post-high school credentials."

"High quality learning takes place in all kinds of settings these days, not just in between institution walls. Whether it's on the job, in the military or behind bars, the learning obtained should be validated," commented Danette Howard, Lumina's chief strategy officer and senior vice president. "We cannot assure people live their most thriving lives if we continue to make it so hard for them to find their way into, through and out of a postsecondary system."

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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