Veterans Bills To Ensure Access To Job Opportunities Head To Governor’s Desk

A view of the Senate Chambers from the 2010-2011 Senate Reorganization.

Legislation Will Expand Upon President Obama’s ‘We Can’t Wait’ Initiative to Connect Veterans with Jobs, Encourage Economic Growth

TRENTON – Two bills that would help veterans transition from the battlefield into good-paying New Jersey jobs by easing duplicative licensing and credentialing requirements were approved today by the General Assembly and now head to the Governor’s desk.

The first bill, S-2034, sponsored by Senators Jim Whelan and Jim Beach 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.

“Our veterans have gone through some of the most intense and rigorous training imaginable and have proven their abilities in high-pressure arenas such as war-zones and battlefields,” said Senator Whelan, D-Atlantic. “Yet, when they return stateside, many have to endure duplicative credentialing requirements and training in order to get a job, which takes time and can cost them and their families money. By waiving some of these requirements, we can honor these service members and ease the barriers to finding employment, while ensuring that qualified, hardworking men and women are in our workforce.”

“At the same time that our military men and women – who heroically protected our country overseas – are searching for work, employers in New Jersey are looking for workers with the skill sets that these veterans have,” said Senator Beach, D-Camden and Burlington. “This legislation is about removing unnecessary hoops that veterans must jump through in order to find employment as they transition from active duty military back into civilian life.”

The second bill, S-1681, sponsored by Senators Beach and Paul A. Sarlo 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.

“Military veterans have sacrificed so much for the sake of protecting our country including long deployments away from their friends and family,” said Senator Sarlo, D-Bergen and Passaic. “When they return home, we can thank them for their service and sacrifice by aiding in their quick transition into good New Jersey jobs. By easing their ability to obtain New Jersey licenses and credentials – like CDL licenses – that they have already demonstrated skill and training in, we can help veterans to find work and provide for their families once they return home.”

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.

Both bills were unanimously approved by the Senate last month. They now head to the Governor.

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