A new website and program from the state is geared toward streamlining the process of professional credentialing for active-duty military personnel and veterans looking to start licensed careers in Colorado. It's called "Veterans Occupational Credentialing and Licensing," or VOCAL, and it's run by the state Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), which oversees more than 50 professions.
VOCAL is part of the agency's Military & Veterans Programs, and can also apply to spouses.
The goal, says John Brower, is to help simplify the licensing process by identifying what military training and experience might line up with state requirements and where the gaps might be. Brower is a Regulatory and Veterans Policy Analyst with DORA. He also spent 21 years in the Air Force and works as a military liaison for the agency.
"Sometimes the language might be a little different, or sometimes the training context might be a little different," says Brower. But, he says, "the person has experience and training that is very close to the certification and licensure requirements, and our job is to ensure they receive credit for that."
The initiative comes out of last year's legislative session, and Brower says it falls in line with similar efforts nationwide. As part of the process, evaluations will include advice on what training or exams might be necessary to achieve a professional license.
"It's an attempt to personalize the application process for a military member so that their education and experience can be applied effectively," says Brower.
Currently, the streamlining process is available for careers in engineering, nursing, dental, and physical therapy. Eight more are expected this summer.