Making Progress on Translating Military Skills
Posted by Ramsey Sulayman on July 10
Late Monday, Congress passed the Veterans Skills to Jobs Act -- a key bill that IAVA backed to combat new veteran unemployment-- which will allow the federal government to help more veterans translate military certifications into civilian jobs. The bill now heads to the President's desk, where he is expected to sign it in to law.
BLUF: The Veterans Skills to Jobs Act will require the federal government to consider military training and certification for purposes of civilian licenses and certifications that are issued and controlled by the federal government. Unless the agency secretary can prove that the relevant military training is substantially different from the equivalent civilian training, all that a veteran will need is what she or he learned in service to qualify for more than 70 jobs that require federal licenses or certifications.
This bill is an important step forward for our community on the heels of a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that unemploymed is still hovering above the national average at 9.7 percent for Iraq and Afghanistan-era veterans. In 2011, IAVA lead the fight to pass the VOW to Hire Heroes Act that requires the government to study how military skills and education translates into civilian licenses and certifications. Since most licenses and certifications are controlled by the states or trade organizations, it’s critical that we have a clear idea about how military skills and education, such as those skills acquired by combat medics, translates into jobs in the civilian sector (like EMTs).
While this bill impacts only 70 positions thus far, it puts the federal government out front to help qualified veterans get hired in fields like air traffic control, aircraft maintenance, maritime leadership and more. Fixing this certification problem on a national scale, among the states, will be a long and difficult process. But IAVA is glad to see the federal government leading from the front on this issue. We hope that it sets the tone for the states and trade associations to do the same.
IAVA applauds Congressmen Jeff Denham (R-CA 19) and Tim Walz (D-MN 1) as well as Senator Bill Nelson (D FL) for their leadership in paving the way for this legsilation and for states to do their part in tackling the unnecessarily high veteran unemployment rate. It’s time to put America’s veterans back to work.
In 2012, IAVA is tackling veterans’ unemployment on every front, in both the public and private sectors. A recent IAVA survey showed that IAVA members were facing 17 percent unemployment nationally at the start of the year. Innovative job fairs are a key part of IAVA’s Employment Program to lower new veteran unemployment and engage both sectors on solutions to ease veterans’ transition from combat to career. In the coming months, IAVA and Hiring Our Heroes will sponsor more job fairs for new veterans and their spouses in Atlanta, Dallas and San Francisco. Veterans can register to attend in these cities here.
Ramsey Sulayman serves as IAVA's Legislative Associates in Washington, D.C. working with Congress, Veterans Service Organizations and governmental organizations. Ramsey is a Marine officer and served in Operation Iraqi Freedom as an infantry platoon commander and company executive officer. He attended the University of Toledo where he received his B.A in Political Science and International Relations.
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