New Initiative a Positive Step for Transitioning Military

The nation’s oldest and largest major combat veterans’ organization is calling President Obama’s new “We Can’t Wait” initiative an extremely positive step that will help thousands of service members with manufacturing and other high-demand skills receive civilian credentials and licenses.   

Today’s announcement tasks the Defense Department’s new Military Credentialing and Licensing Task Force to focus on industries and career fields that have an identified need for more skilled workers, such as in manufacturing, emergency response, healthcare, information technology, transportation and logistics. Within a year, the Task Force will identify military specialties that can readily transfer to these high-demand jobs; work with civilian credentialing and licensing associations to address gaps between military training programs and civilian credentialing and licensing requirements; and provide service members with greater access to necessary certification and licensing exams.     

“This will be extremely beneficial for transitioning service members and hopefully their spouses, too,” said Richard L. DeNoyer, a retired Marine and Vietnam combat veteran, who leads the 2 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. and its Auxiliaries.    

All military lawyers, doctors and chaplains must first be civilian-licensed or certified. DeNoyer said it just makes sense that specialized military training should also meet private-sector standards, such as in the career fields of machinists, welders, plumbers, engineers and logistics specialists, as well as commercial vehicle drivers, paramedics, and airframe and powerplant technicians. With industry now involved in military training standards, the VFW hopes all the states will soon ease their restrictions regarding the portability of licensing and certifications and academic credit.  

“DOD paid more than $1 billion in unemployment compensation last year to former servicemen and women who were unable to find work,” said the VFW national commander. “This new initiative will help ensure their specialized military training meets civilian standards for credentialing and licensing, which will save the government money and provide industry with a fully qualified and job-ready workforce.  It’s a win-win for everyone.”    

Read more about the new White House initiative in a report prepared by the President’s Council of Economic Advisers and the National Economic Council. The “Military Skills for America’s Future: Leveraging Military Service and Experience to Put Veterans and Military Spouses Back to Work report analyzes the labor market situation of America’s veterans, and discusses the challenges that returning veterans and military spouses face as they seek to enter or re-enter civilian employment.