Veterans Still Face Hurdles when Entering the Civilian Workforce

Service members entering the civilian world continue to face challenges obtaining licenses and certifications for skills they used during their service. Combat medics, for example, typically will not qualify for basic health care jobs despite being highly trained.

At a two-day American Legion conference last week, leaders from business and government looked for ways to smooth the transition for personnel seeking to enter the civilian workforce.

Labor Secretary Tom Perez said the government has overhauled DOD’s job readiness program for service members leaving the military over the past two years, but said “unnecessary licensing barriers” still exist, reported Stars and Stripes.  

“We need to do a better job of recognizing the core competencies that our service members bring to the table,” Perez said.

The military once was reluctant to help troops gain skills and certifications that translated to civilian work for fear of losing them. But that has changed greatly, said Steve Gonzalez, the American Legion’s assistant director for veterans employment and education.

One speaker underscored the critical resources that service members can provide society.

“There’s a demand for skilled workers and we’ve got the supply coming out of the military,” said Lisa Lutz, president of the policy and research analysis group Solutions for Information Design. “We can’t afford to ignore that.”

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