Separating service members continue to face significant barriers to gaining civilian credentials for skills they mastered during their military service, witnesses told a House subcommittee last week.
The problem stems from the dizzying array of state requirements and training programs veterans must satisfy, reported Military Times.
“This situation creates an artificial barrier to employment for veterans,” Roy Swift, executive director of Workcred, an affiliate of the American National Standards Institute, told the Economic Opportunity Subcommittee of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee on Sep. 10. “With an estimated 250,000 military personnel expected to leave service every year, the need to translate military skills into civilian careers is as important as ever,” Swift said.
Meeting states’ credentialing standards remains a challenge for veterans even as the unemployment rate for all veterans fell to 4.2 percent in August, the lowest monthly mark since May 2008.
Witnesses said the federal government has made progress — particularly in fields such as medical training — in bridging disconnects between state requirements and military training, but said more work is needed to help states understand military jobs and skills.
“We simply can’t continue to spend millions of dollars training service members to do a job in the military and then require them to turn right around and re-take unnecessary courses or exams for the same job in the civilian world,” said Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio).
All military services by the end of the year will have programs to pay for civilian credentialing tests, Frank DiGiovanni, DOD’s director of force readiness and training, told the panel. The department also is reviewing civilian credentialing requirements associated with each military specialty, according to the story.
To watch a webcast of the hearing, visit the committee website.