Sens. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) today introduced legislation designed to improve cooperation between the military and state agencies to more closely align specialized military training and state licensing and certification requirements. The legislation, Helping Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Return to Employment (HIRE) at Home Act, was referred to the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee.
Johanns, a member of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, said, "Our servicemen and women perform highly skilled jobs while deployed and should be allowed to do the same job back home without unnecessary hurdles. This legislation paves the way for the specialized skills and training veterans already have to meet local licensing and certification requirements."
Pryor said, "Many veterans have already demonstrated proficiency through military training and experience, and they have done so in a war zone. This legislation simply encourages states to consider our service members' experience, which could allow them to skip expensive and time-consuming hurdles to employment."
Unemployment among post-9/11 veterans is 12.1 percent, according to a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report.
The HIRE at Home Act encourages states to consider the skills and training service members acquire on active duty when determining their eligibility for state licenses and certifications. The Department of Defense (DoD) released a report identifying several education and training issues it hopes to resolve, including having military training pre-approved within state credentialing options.
HIRE at Home would use existing federal funds available through the Disabled Veterans' Outreach and Local Veterans' Employment Representative programs to coordinate this process between DoD and state agencies.