(Hartford, CT) – Today, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) issued a statement following the release of a Connecticut Veterans Legal Center report calling for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to share military job training data with state and local occupational licensing boards in an effort to expedite the credentialing process for recent veterans seeking employment.
“This report provides powerful evidence – and a roadmap for reform – for opening more job opportunities to veterans with specific skills gained through military training. This report could make Connecticut a national model in tailoring veteran job programs and targeting occupation and professional licenses that match military skills. More comprehensive data is needed from the Department of Defense and the VA in order to make veteran training programs more effective and to better assist veterans to find jobs. As a member of the Senate's Veterans Affairs Committee, I will use this report to help shape new national veterans employment efforts.”
Blumenthal has long advocated for improving the credentialing process for recently returned veterans, having led the successful push to pass the Veteran Skills to Jobs Act, which requires acceptance of military training for all federal credentials.
A link to the full report can be found here; key recommendations can be found below:
1. The DoD should share its MOS data with DoL, the VA, and the public to permit an analysis to determine which federal, state, or local occupational or professional licensing requirements should be reformed to maximize Gulf War II veteran employment by more fully crediting military training and experience. Stakeholders should also use these data to identify MOSes that are at risk for civilian unemployment.
2. In the absence of DoD cooperation, state departments of veterans’ affairs should survey Gulf War II veterans by MOS and share the results with state policymakers, employers, and the public, so that all can better understand the skills and experience of Gulf War II veterans and how to reform licensing regimes to credit more fully this military training and experience. The Connecticut study suggests that health care and commercial driver’s licenses may be among the most fruitful for reform.
3. The DoD, VA, and DoL should collaborate to identify unemployment rates for Gulf War II veterans by MOS in order to better inform service members about post-service employment prospects when they make decisions regarding which military specialty to pursue. As a result, service members would know whether they are entering an MOS with a high risk for civilian unemployment.
4. The DoD branches with Credentialing Opportunities On-Line (COOL), or COOL equivalent, websites should coordinate with the DoL’s Bureau of Labor Statistics to provide service members access to information in one website regarding civilian licenses and occupational outlooks for states in which they reside, or plan to return to upon completion of their service obligation. As of December 20, 2013, the Marine Corps does not have a COOL website, and the Air Force Credentialing and Education Research Tool (CERT) site is not operational. Both the Air Force CERT and the planned Marine Corps COOL site should emulate the content and functionality of the Army and Navy COOL websites.
5. The Connecticut MOS Task Force, created pursuant to Connecticut Special Act 13-5, should examine whether the licensing requirements related to 29 of the 32 most common MOSes held by Gulf War II veterans can be reformed to more fully credit military training and experience. Additionally, the Task Force should include this analysis in its report to the Connecticut Legislature