AUBURN — Fifty-two professionals from all seven Maine community colleges gathered recently at Central Maine Community College for a conference centered on prior learning assessment (PLA). The group was joined by three experienced trainers from the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL).

The focus of the conference was on providing students with greater opportunities for earning credits for college-level learning acquired from other sources. Examples of prior learning include work experience, professional and military training, standardized tests, registered apprenticeships, challenge exams and portfolios.

The implementation of a standardized, system-wide PLA program to assess learning from outside the classroom is one of the goals of the Maine Community College System (MCCS) Maine is IT! initiative, funded by a $13 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.

This grant initiative coincides with the collaborative work being done between University of Maine System and the MCCS in the areas of transfer, PLA and career pathways. In June, the two systems signed a comprehensive transfer agreement that is designed to reduce college costs for Maine students and speed their time to degree completion.

Anyone interested in more information on prior learning is encouraged to contact CMCC’s Learning and Advising Center at 207-755-5380 or [email protected] Information is also available online at www.cmcc.edu.