Veterans Accelerated Learning for Licensed Occupations
A Federal Department of Labor Grant, Veterans Accelerated Learning for Licensed Occupations (VALLO) was awarded to Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation in July 2018. Our team has aimed to bridge the gap between the ever-evolving workforce and future career opportunities for transitioning military service members. Historically, civilian licensing requirements have discounted military training and experience, causing unnecessary burden in the form of additional education, training, time, and fees. However, when looking at years of service within military occupational specialties, job duties, and/or measurable competencies, we have found a large overlap when compared to civilian standards for licensing in respective occupations. Our goal has been to award service members credit for their education and experience obtained in the military so that they may be quickly licensed and employed within Kentucky.
The Kentucky VALLO team has identified 35 disciplines/levels of licensure and are working to establish an accelerated pathway for each one. Along with our partners at the University of Louisville and the Kentucky Career and Technical College System, the Kentucky VALLO team has worked diligently to advocate for direct reciprocity of occupational licensures, bridge curriculum for degree completion, and impact state legislation to benefit veteran employment and licensure mobility. Our philosophy states that the shortest pathway for the transitioning veteran is the best pathway. However, we also recognize the diverse needs of transitioning service members and present our career pathways as multi-faceted in order to most effectively cater to veteran career aspirations, levels of prior education, years of service, family/spousal interests, financial needs, time restrictions, location preferences, and employment wishes.
We encourage transitioning service members, prospective employers, and states looking to replicate processes to utilize the resources we have provided. We would like to issue a thank you to Kentucky state agencies, licensure boards, and private training/educational institutes that have accompanied our work in establishing the Commonwealth as a leading entity for a veteran-friendly workforce.
Rick Johnson - MSEE, MBA
Rick Johnson is Vice president at Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation. At KSTC Rick oversaw the Kentucky Innovation Network and Idea State U business plan competition for the Cabinet for Economic Development. Previously Rick ran two closely held electronic manufacturing companies and divisions of two publicly traded electronic manufacturing companies. Rick started his career as a design engineer and progressed into engineering management, sales management and then general management. Rick has experience in the telecommunications, petrochemical, security, transportation, components, electronic sensing and capital equipment markets. Rick holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, and an MBA from UCLA. Rick has been awarded four U.S. patents.
Molly Bode - MSW, CSW
Molly Bode joined KSTC in August 2019 as the VALLO Grant Program Manager. She is responsible for grant oversight, partner management, and completion of the 35 accelerated pathways to occupational licensing for the veteran population. Molly obtained a Bachelor's in Community Communications and Leadership Development from the University of Kentucky, a Master's in Social Work from Spalding University, and is working toward her Ph.D. in Social Work from the University of Kentucky in 2021. Her primary areas of research surround professional regulation, licensing, and the portability of social work licensure, with an ancillary focus in child health and welfare.
Abidah Bryant - US Navy Veteran
Abidah Bryant is the newest member to join KSTC as Team VALLO’s Program Staff. She comes to us with several years of experience in state government, economic development, education, and research and data management. Abidah graduated from Kentucky Community & Technical College in 2008 shortly after having served as an Aircraft Director for the U.S. Navy post 9/11. Having had a parent in the military herself, she has been an advocate and supporter of the armed forces her entire life. When she is not devoted to work and family, she is volunteering in her local community in education or local economic development.