WHELAN-BEACH BILL TO ASSIST VETERANS IN TRANSITIONING INTO CIVILIAN LIFE APPROVED BY SENATE
Legislation Will Expand Upon President Obama’s ‘We Can’t Wait’ Initiative to Connect Veterans with Jobs, Encourage Economic Growth
TRENTON – A measure that would help veterans transition from the battlefield into good-paying New Jersey jobs by easing duplicative licensing and credentialing requirements was unanimously approved today by the full Senate.
“New Jersey’s service members have had some of the most extensive and best training in their fields from the United States military and they have practiced their crafts in the extreme environments of war zones and battlefields. Yet when these heroes return home they are often required to go through extensive and duplicative licensing and credentialing processes in order to gain employment,” said Senator Whelan, D-Atlantic. “We can make a real impact in alleviating the struggles that our military members and their families face when they return to civilian life and attempt to find employment.”
The bill, S-2034, would provide veterans or active duty members of the Armed Forces with exemptions or waivers from licensure requirements when their military training, education or experience is equivalent to the requirements for state licensure or certification.
According to a study by Prudential Financial, Inc. and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, more than two-thirds of veterans state that finding a job is their greatest challenge when transitioning back into civilian life. They note that trying to explain how their military skills translate into the civilian workforce is particularly difficult.
“Throughout the state we have veterans who are qualified and skilled for a particular job, and we have employers searching for applicants with the right training for these jobs. Unfortunately they are unable to connect at this time due to licensing and credentialing requirements,” said Senator Beach, D-Camden and Burlington. “Veterans should be able to leverage the skills that they acquired through their military training and their hard work and discipline should give them a leg up in the job market. This legislation will ease the employment and transition concerns for many of our returning heroes.”
In June, 2012, President Obama announced the creation of the Military Credentialing and Licensing Task Force to identify opportunities for service members to earn civilian occupation credentials and licenses specifically in the high-tech manufacturing sectors. Senators Whelan and Beach note that this fast-track licensing should not be limited to manufacturing jobs, but should occur across all licensed occupations.
The bill was unanimously approved by the General Assembly in May of 2012 and by the full Senate today. It awaits a final vote by the Assembly, to concur with amendments made in the Senate, before heading to the Governor’s desk.
Another Senator Beach-sponsored bill, S-1681, was also approved by the full Senate today. The legislation would allow the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission to waive the skills test for commercial driver’s license (CDL) applicants who have experience operating commercial vehicles in the military. It was approved with a vote of 37-0 and now heads to the Governor.