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Keeping COOL in a Competitive Marine Corps Market

By Cpl. Brendan King | Marine Corps Air Station Yuma | December 5, 2014

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MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz. - How much will your career change during your enlistment? Will your specialty require the same training and certifications over the next decade? It’s very possible, that an entire industry can change over the period of one enlistment. Therefore, keeping credentials current is imperative in this day and age.

For these reasons, Headquarters Marine Corps recently addressed this issue by establishing the Marine Corps Credentialing Opportunities On-Line program.

The program, formally dubbed COOL, is the newest awareness and information resource capability that assists active and reserve Marines in learning about certifications and licenses related to their military occupational specialties.

“To the Marines, I’d like to say welcome aboard to one of the newest capabilities that the Marine Corps offers as a window into opportunities,” said Col. Lee Ackiss, the Deputy of Personal Professional Development at Headquarters Marine Corps. “COOL can help Marines by continuing to promote their personal and professional development within their field and better inform and prepare them whether they choose to stay in or get out.”

Besides translating Marine Corps knowledge and training into civilian credentials, the program also links service members to higher education and transition readiness resources.

Another resource provided by the Personal and Development Branch, and linked through COOL, is the United Service Military Apprenticeship Program. USMAP provides Marines with an opportunity to improve their job skills and complete their civilian apprenticeship requirements while on active duty. USMAP can lead to civilian recognitions and journeyman status in a particular trade of skill. The U.S. Department of Labor provides the nationally recognized “Certificate of Completion” upon program completion.

With that being said, Marines taking advantage of these programs will find themselves more competitive and marketable, whether they decide to stay in the Marine Corps or take their talents to the civilian workforce.

“There is a lot to learn and gain from COOL in support of our Marines and sailors to help mold their bright future,” said Ackiss. “COOL can show you what future direction a Marine might pursue to enhance his or her professionalism in that MOS [Military Occupational Specialty] as well as outside of the Corps.”

COOL is a web-based resource for:
- Marines who want to know what civilian credentials relate to their MOSs and how to obtain them

- Marines who want to distinguish themselves through growth in their occupational fields or enhance their transition readiness;

- Education, career and transition advisers providing guidance on education, personal and professional development and career requirements and opportunities;

- Marine Corps recruiters who want to show potential recruits the opportunities for professional growth and civilian career preparation available through military service;

- Employers and credentialing boards interested in how military training and experience prepares Marines for civilian credentials and jobs.

“You need to learn about credentials, credentialing and allow it to be that point of aim and impact for you as a Marine professional,” said Ackiss. “Whether that target is your military development or your future transition; you need to be certain you’re on target.”


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