Legislation Expands 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 signed into law today.
The first law, S-2034, sponsored by Senators Jim Whelan and Jim Beach provides 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.
“The United States military trains our veterans to not only effectively do their jobs, but under some of the most rigorous and intense situations imaginable – on the frontlines and battlefields in war zones,” said Senator Whelan, D-Atlantic. “But when these hardworking men and women return home, we often require them to go through duplicative training and credentialing processes to find work here in New Jersey. By removing these unnecessary requirements, we can help our veterans transition faster into the workforce, and ensure continued financial stability for both themselves and their families.”
“Unemployment among veterans is higher than the national average, causing many of the service men and women who have fought bravely for our country’s protection to return home to an unemployment line. At the same time, New Jersey employers are searching for employees with the right skill sets, work ethic and training for positions available in their organizations,” said Senator Beach, D- Camden and Burlington. “This law will put New Jerseyans back to work by breaking down the employment barriers of duplicative credentialing requirements to connect qualified veterans with employment opportunities.”
The second law, S-1681, sponsored by Senators Beach and Paul A. Sarlo, allows 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 men and women who are trained to drive large trucks and buses in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan have a high level of skill and demonstrated achievement in high-pressure situations,” said Senator Sarlo, D-Bergen and Passaic. “This law provides our veterans with the recognition that their hard work and sacrifice have not gone unnoticed and their training directly applies to a career here in New Jersey. By helping our veterans obtain a commercial drivers license, we are not only thanking them for their service to our country, but also opening doors to good-paying jobs at 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. The Senators note that this fast-track licensing should not be limited to manufacturing jobs, but should occur across all licensed occupations.
Both laws were unanimously approved by the Legislature in March. S-2034 takes effect in 12 months and S-1681 takes effect in six months.