MAP and the IE/DRC College Collaborative:

CTE Pathways for Veterans through Credit for Prior Learning

So you heard about MAP. What is it?

In the fall of 2017, Norco College began developing the Military Articulation Platform or MAP, as a cloud-based platform designed to match military credit recommendations from the Academic Council on Education (ACE) with courses in the college catalog. Since then, much has been made of MAP regarding the colleges of the Inland Empire and Desert Region. This project will profoundly impact student veterans, active duty service members, and the implementing colleges themselves.

The Inland Empire Desert Regional Consortium AKA the IE/DRC:

In the spring of 2018, the Consortium IE/DRC sponsored the expansion of MAP as a regional effort supporting its member colleges (IE/DRC Project 16). The platform allows college faculty to match credit with the courses/experiences gained by U.S. Military veterans in order to meet specific CTE program requirements and beyond. By expediting their career pathways, student veterans will save GI Bill resources and re-enter the workforce faster. Consequently, participating colleges will increase student veteran participation rates, an access and equity goal. Furthermore, the region will recruit and retain incredible assets in our communities, our military service members. The project has since spread to all 10 area colleges and is now being adopted region-wide due to the Strong Workforce IE/DRC Consortium support.

Let’s talk numbers.

Of the 750,000 GI Bill users each year, a majority attend private, for-profit IHLs due to the credit they accept from military service towards degrees and certificates. Compare the tuition difference at private IHLs to that of California community colleges–a shocking $30-40,000 per year per student margin. With that said, the average veteran using their GI Bill at a community college could not only save significant time (a full semester) by earning credit for prior learning but would additionally save over $10,000 in housing allowances. This potential equates to both student veteran and taxpayer savings of more than $300M for the 30,000 average annual GI Bill students in California. Accepting military CPL also allows a veteran to enter the workforce sooner, which aids our local industries and tax base.

What’s Next for MAP?

To date, all 10 IE/DRC colleges are now loading all curricula/programs into MAP. In the next stage, colleges will work, using aligned ACE recommendations, to publish articulations for course credits within certain disciplines, creating education pathways for thousands of current and future student veterans.For example, within Electronics Technology at Norco College, MAP has facilitated over 133 articulations from military occupations and DoD courses. Those who performed associated jobs in the DoD can complete their certificate or degree up to 6 months sooner due to this effort.

What can you do?

If you would like to consider articulating military courses and experiences in your CTE area or to find out more about the project, please contact your college’s MAP Project lead or the Project #16 Lead Terence C Nelson at


  1. Assembly Member Sabrina Cervantes supports MAP (and the larger Veterans Initiative of the college) and has sponsored this initial effort with a state appropriation.
  2. Darrell Palmer, a Norco College student and US Army veteran, was a Tactical Satellite / Microwave Systems Operator while serving our country. After discipline faculty review, Mr. Palmer will receive 17 units of applicable credit towards his Digital Electronics AS degree. We look forward to a day when this will be replicated across the region and state.