Rewarding Hard Work – Earn College Credit for Prior Learning

Learn More at GCC’s Open House Events: 11/10 and 11/18!

Matthew Hobart has always known he would enter the workforce after high school, so, as a junior, he enrolled in the Cisco Networking Academy in Albion, NY. He graduated high school already Cisco CCNA certified and immediately began his eleven year career in the Albion School District’s Information Technology Department as a hardware technician. In 2012, Matt was hired as a senior network engineer at Claims Recovery Financial Services (CRFS), and over the years he moved up the ladder to security director and then to chief technology officer.

Throughout his career, Matt relied on his solid reputation and enviable work ethic to be recognized for opportunities for advancement. Attaining a college degree never seemed like an option. Until his employer’s Human Resources department mentioned Genesee Community College’s Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) program, which changed everything. Matt had never tried to obtain a degree and wondered if this program might be just right for him. Matt was right!

The Credit for Prior Learning program at GCC was designed to officially recognize that work experience and non-college learning could result in an education equivalent to what is earned in a traditional college classroom. The program affords individuals the opportunity to demonstrate that they possess the knowledge covered in specific academic courses.

There are a number of mechanisms under which college credits can be awarded: Standardized Examinations, Non-College Sponsored Learning programs and Prior Learning Assessments (PLA). 

The Standardized Examinations process use scores from Advanced Placement exams, exams administered by the College Level Examination Program and Excelsior College Examinations to meet GCC course requirements. 

Learning accomplished through Non-College Sponsored Learning programs can be sited for CPL credits using various certificates awarded upon completion of such programs. For example, Emergency Medical Technician certification could be considered equivalent to one of GCC’s health education courses.

Prior Learning Assessments (PLA) require a student to work closely with an assigned professor to create a portfolio that documents the prior learning. The PLA was the right path for Matt Hobart.

Working with Director of Information Technology Programs James Bucki, Matt began the credit qualification process.

“It was obvious to me, reading his work experience, the Credit for Prior Learning program was developed for people just like Matt. Through his on-the-job training, Matt had learned much of the skills and knowledge required of the Information Technology degree programs” says Bucki. “He has certainly earned his education.”

Matt created his credit qualification portfolio documenting all of his learning and experience, and it really paid off! Through the program, Matt was awarded 31 credits to be applied towards his Associate Degree in Computer Systems and Network Technologies. Matt’s years in the field gave him a huge head start in the program. With that help, Matt will graduate from Genesee Community College in the spring of 2018. With his associate degree so close, Matt is seeing the opportunities that could open up for him.

“Though I never considered my lack of degree to be a roadblock, I can see how my career could have progressed more quickly had I earned my degree earlier,” Matt said. “I am proud of all of the hard work I have done, and excited to see that hard work pay off in a big way”.

Reflecting on this process, Matt encourages those in the workforce today to consider what the Credit for Prior Learning program at GCC could fast track for them! “Just reach out to GCC!” Matt advises.

Claims Recovery Financial Services is a participant in the SUNY Workforce Development Grant. Through GCC, this program awards employers with dollars to spend on employee training and education. There are currently 11 companies in the GLOW region participating in the 2017-2018 grant. For more information about the SUNY Workforce Development Grant, contact The BEST Center Director, John McGowan at (585) 343-0055 x6299 or at The Albion Campus Center Academic Advisors will be returning to CRFS later in October to share information with the employee base about the CPL and other excellent programs available at GCC. To have GCC come to your place of employment, contact Albion and Medina Director of Operations Michele Bokman at (585) 589-4936 x4006 or

There are 157 students with prior learning credits registered at GCC this semester. The opportunity to take advantage of prior learning is open to anyone. Potential students are encouraged to learn more about the Credit for Prior Learning program at GCC’s Open House events. The Academic Open House on Friday, November 10, 2017 will feature booths from each of the academic areas in the forum from 9:00am to 10:00am. Come and see which programs are right for your career path. A second Open House will be held on Saturday, November 18, 2017 from 9:00am to 12:00pm. Additional information on GCC, admissions, financial aid and more will be available at these events.

For additional information on how to take advantage of GCC’s Credit for Prior Learning program, contact GCC at or (585)343-0055 x6230.