army ignited

Perspectives

Improving military readiness and support with virtual education

ArmyIgnitED: The Army Credentialing Assistance Program case study

Developing an effective virtual training and educational program to improve military readiness, solider retention, and successful transitions to civilian life.

The situation

The United States has the most advanced military in the world due to the incredible men and women in uniform. The Army is known for being the largest military branch in the United States, with more than 472,000 active-duty members in 150 countries who help protect our national security; maintain peace; and deploy, fight, and win our nation's wars. These men and women in uniform make sure we maintain our competitive advantage overseas, and in turn, we should make sure they are able to succeed once their service ends, as well as strengthen their competencies while serving.

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The challenge

In a rapidly changing world, the skills our soldiers need to protect our national security and the skills they need to succeed when they transition out of the military are constantly evolving. Given the size and caliber of our Army, investment in skills can help to build a pipeline of talent to fill larger workforce shortages. For example:

  • About 47 percent of jobs in the United States could face possible automation over the next 20 years due to rapid advances in artificial intelligence, cognitive computing, and automation of repetitive and rule-based tasks.1
  • By 2021, there will be an estimated 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs worldwide.2 Today, the Army relies on cybersecurity officers more than ever before to protect military networks and critical infrastructure.3
  • By 2022, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects there will be more than 9 million science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) jobs, making it difficult for employers to find qualified talent and keep up with new positions that are being created. Tapping into the pool of more than 1.5 million service members that transition out of the military each year could be a viable path forward,4 as many work in the STEM fields during their service in either communications or intelligence analysis, using high-tech equipment unavailable in most civilian jobs.5
  • By 2030, we are expected to have a shortage of more than 160,000 truck drivers in the United States, which would critically undermine the supply chain and ability to move goods. Service members drive expensive, large vehicles and machinery all over the globe and through geography far more challenging than the typical interstate highway, but do not always have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) or other accreditation when they leave the armed services.6

Despite the potential, the learning infrastructure did not always support a clear alignment between military training and skills and credentials needed for similar roles in the civilian workforce. In fact, many US veterans say the military prepared them for active duty, but only about half say they felt prepared with the right skills to transition to civilian life.7

Modern national security depends as much on capabilities in cyber, space operations, advanced analytics, and technology as it does on traditional air, land, and maritime force. That makes it critical to provide educational and training opportunities that both maintain America’s competitive advantage and arm our men and women in uniform with the marketable skills and credentials to succeed when they transition out of service.

This raises the question: How do you advance the skills of the Army’s most important asset—its service members—and set them up for future success?

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The solution: Advancing the future of work for the Army

The Army enlisted Deloitte to develop ArmyIgnitED, an agency-wide program established by ACCESS, ArmyU and promoted by the Sergeant Major of the Army in 2019, to replace the existing outdated platform. To support this priority, Deloitte developed a flexible and mobile solution built around the needs and lives of soldiers, enabling them to obtain marketable skills without the need to go through a traditional four-year college—although that option is still available to them.

The ArmyIgnitED platform provides quick and efficient access to both in-person and virtual training and voluntary educational programs to improve military readiness, soldier retention, and successful transitions to civilian life. Deloitte worked closely with credentialing vendors and training providers to ensure the system is user-friendly while collaborating with the Army education counselor community to incorporate feedback to better support soldiers through their counseling process.

Soldiers can easily select, start, and track both their credentialing journey and their benefits and can access more than 1,500 credentials to help them advance their career goals in six easy steps (figure 1).

Types of credentials range from a private pilot's license for single-engine aircraft, project management professional (PMP) certification, or personal training and security all the way to open-water diving and Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and commercial driver’s license (CDL) certifications. Soldiers can also complete multiple credentials and stack them to earn credits toward a degree over time. Credentials in Credentialing Opportunities On-Line (COOL) are available for selection in ArmyIgnitED.



ArmyIgnitED has enabled the Army to expand credentialing assistance at a rate that would not have been possible with existing platforms. It is expected to reach more than 1 million soldiers across the Army when it hits full scale in late 2020, making this the most comprehensive program of all the armed services—a role model for modern technology and mobile-first design.

The ArmyIgnitED platform provides quick and efficient access to both in-person and virtual training and voluntary educational programs to improve military readiness, soldier retention, and successful transitions to civilian life.

In this podcast, Raj Iyer, Managing Director of Deloitte, discusses how Liferay, an enterprise open source software platform enabled the Army to replace legacy technology with a flexible, modern platform and transform the way soldiers are able to access education through mobile devices around the globe.

Endnotes

1 Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne, “The future of employment,” Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford, September 17, 2013.

2 CSO Online, “Cybersecurity labor crunch to hit 3.5 million unfilled jobs by 2021,” June 6, 2017.

3 Today’s Military, “Cyber Security Officers,” June 17, 2020.

4 ClearanceJobs, “Are Veterans the Answer to the STEM Industry Dilemma?” February 7, 2020.

5 GoArmy.com, “Army STEM: Technology Careers and Jobs,” June 17, 2020.

6 Bloomberg, “U.S. Truck Driver Shortage Is On Course to Double in a Decade,” July 24, 2019.

7 Pew Research Center, “Readjusting to civilian life,” September 9, 2019.

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