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President Announces Broad Effort to Ease Service Members’ Transition into Workforce

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  • June 3, 2012
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Up to 126,000 service members will be able to gain industry-recognized certifications for high-demand manufacturing jobs, under an initiative unveiled Friday by President Obama.

To reach that goal, the Defense Department will establish a military credentialing and licensing task force to find new ways for military personnel to gain industry credentials for skills they’ve acquired.

“So that it doesn’t cost them and they don’t necessarily have to go back to school for three years and take out a whole bunch of student loans when, potentially, they could do it quicker, more inexpensively, and get on the job faster,” Obama said during a visit to a Honeywell facility in Golden Valley, Minn. ”So that returning combat medic that I spoke about, he doesn’t have to prove himself over and over again.”

The task force initially will focus on industries that need more skilled workers and stand to benefit from military expertise and training, including manufacturing, first responders, healthcare, information technology, transportation and logistics.

The initiative is intended to address one of the barriers preventing departing service members from finding jobs. Many returning veterans with advanced skills “don’t get hired simply because they don’t have the civilian licenses or certifications that a lot of companies require,” the president said.

“So think about it — we got all these openings and all these skilled veterans looking for work, and somehow they’re missing each other,” Obama noted.

He also announced a series of military-industry partnerships that will allow manufacturing credentialing agencies to extend certifications to military personnel with skills in the high-demand fields of engineering, logistics, machining, maintenance and welding. These partnerships will provide service members an opportunity to test for and earn civilian credentials immediately upon completing their initial military training. They include:

  • A partnership between the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council that will set up a pilot program for a limited number of service members to achieve industry-recognized credentials that can support a transition from military service to frontline jobs in the growing fields of advanced manufacturing and logistics.
  • A partnership between the Army, the American Welding Society and the National Institute for Metalworking Skills that will provide unlimited certification testing at the Army Ordnance School at Fort Lee, Va., for soldiers with certain machinist and welding skills.
  • A partnership between the Army and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers that will expand certification opportunities for officers and warrant officers at the Army’s Engineer School at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.

The initiatives introduced last week were developed in response to new report by the president’s Council of Economic Advisers and the National Economic Council, Military Skills for America’s Future: Leveraging Military Service and Experience to Put Veterans and Military Spouses Back to Work. The report describes the difficulties faced by service members and military spouses in moving from the military to the civilian world, according to the American Forces Press Service.

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