The national unemployment rate for veterans serving post-9/11 is dramatically higher than the national average. Thousands of separating service members are returning to civilian life with valuable and documented training and work experience, as well as professional and leadership skills, with which the military equipped them. However, military education and training is not always recognized by state licensing agencies or organizations that administer related certifications or exams, making it difficult to qualify veterans for credentials for professional civilian employment.
- Worked closely with DoD and White House to develop comprehensive engagement and communications plan to raise awareness about the credentialing and licensing effort (entitled The Fast Track to Civilian Employment: Streamlining Credentialing and Licensing for Service Members, Veterans and Their Spouses).
- Initial focus on five (5) civilian occupations that involve national level exams, certifications or standards that are associated with the issuance of state licenses. The focus occupations include Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), Commercial Drivers of trucks and buses, Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), Paramedics and Physician Assistants (PAs).
- Leveraged state and local officials Groups to begin educating legislators, local government officials and staff about the effort: 2013-15 awareness-raising and education efforts included the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), the National Association of Counties’ (NACo), military-focused forums within national and regional governors organizations, the Council on Licensure, Enforcement and Regulation (CLEAR), the Council of State Governments (CSG) and the National Lieutenant Governors Association (NLGA).
- Worked closely with state departments of professional regulation to raise awareness about initiative and improve partnering between the states and the military to encourage Veteranspecific curricula at community colleges to accelerate the transition.
- Helped DoD directly engage Veteran Services Organizations, professional affinity groups and state chambers of commerce to support legislative efforts on behalf of DoD and the White House.
- Provided DoD with counsel about directly engaging state legislative efforts and identifying opportunities to participate as expert witness, provide collateral or other resources.
Since the initiative began in 2013, over 60 laws have been enacted in nearly all 50 states easing licensing challenges for separated service members and veterans.