U.S. Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), a military pilot in the Air National Guard, introduced the Veteran Emergency Medical Technician Support Act of 2012, H.R. 4124, legislation that would assist states in streamlining their certification requirements for veterans with military emergency medical technician (EMT) training who want to continue their career as an EMT in the civilian workforce.
Currently, many veteran EMTs are required to take classes they have already completed in the military to satisfy the civilian licensure system, needlessly delaying their entry into the civilian workforce. This bipartisan legislation would make the process more efficient and provide grants to states so they can streamline requirements for veterans with military EMT training to become certified civilian EMTs. In doing so, returning veterans will not have to start over at square one in their training and can enter the civilian workforce much sooner.
"While our unemployment rate continues to linger around 8 percent, it remains particularly too high among our men and women who are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan," said Kinzinger. "Returning veterans deserve a smooth transition from the military into the civilian workforce. As a nation, we must recognize the experience and education that our military-trained EMTs receive. It is inefficient to force these well-trained veterans to start over with basic training in the civilian workforce after aiding wounded military men and women who were severely injured in combat. We must recognize military-trained EMTs skills and education and streamline the process so these honorable men and women can quickly return to work here at home."
"Our military men and women receive some of the best technical training in emergency medicine -- and they prove their skills on the battlefield every day," said U.S. Representative Lois Capps (D-CA), a co-sponsor of H.R. 4124. "However, when they return home, experienced military medics are often required to begin their training completely over at the most basic level to receive certification for civilian jobs. This keeps our veterans out of the workforce and withholds valuable medical personnel from our communities. I'm so pleased to have joined Congressman Adam Kinzinger in introducing the Veteran Emergency Medical Technician Support Act which would break down the barriers for these qualified veterans, so they can take the skills they used on the battlefield and apply them here at home. Working to improve the economic opportunities for our nation's veterans is an important issue all sides can come together on, and I hope our legislation is moved quickly through the House."
"Our military veterans are often the best trained and most qualified to assume first responder and other high-stakes civilian positions," said U.S. Representative G. K. Butterfield (D-NC), another co-sponsor of H.R. 4124. "Creating additional hurdles for military-trained EMTs to become licensed as a civilian EMT is nonsensical, particularly at a time when the veteran unemployment rate is at its highest. I look forward to working with all my colleagues to remove all obstacles that prevent our veterans from successfully transitioning back to civilian life."
"This bill is another commonsense way to help our veterans as they transition from the battlefield back to civilian life," said U.S. Representative Aaron Schock (R-IL), also a co-sponsor of H.R. 4124. "The experience and expertise these medical professionals gained while serving in the Armed Forces shouldn't be discounted; it should be seen as an asset that allows them to responsibly advance through the EMT licensing process so they can move forward with the next phase of their lives without the burden of the added expense and delay that is currently taking place."