A new federal law intended to ease military veterans’ transition to civilian jobs was signed into law by President Barack Obama on Monday.
The Veteran Skills to Jobs Act, introduced by U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock), removes training barriers for already-qualified veterans.
“America is blessed with the strongest, most capable and professional military in the world. Unfortunately for many of our returning veterans, transitioning into the civilian workforce means a battle with joblessness,” Denham said. “The federal government has invested in our service members and should do everything it can to ensure that they can put their skills to work.”
Previously, veterans were often required to complete redundant trainings for jobs they were already qualified for. Denham, an Air Force veteran himself, was once told he would need to complete three years of schooling to maintain aircraft in the private sector, despite his experience as a crew chief maintaining complex military aircraft.
The new legislation directs heads of federal agencies to treat relevant military training as sufficient to satisfy training or certification requirements for federal work licenses. The new licensing and certification guidelines will include federally-issued occupational licenses in the aerospace, communications, and maritime sectors, among others.
That could help the 200,000 servicemen and women who transition to the civilian workforce each year secure the jobs they are already qualified for. The unemployment rate for post 9/11 veterans is 17.3 percent, and the national veterans unemployment rate stands at 8.3 percent.
The President signed the legislation during a visit to the Veterans of Foreign Wars annual convention in Reno, Nev.
“I’m proud to have worked with my colleagues in the House and Senate on both sides of the aisle to uphold our commitment to our veterans and I thank President Obama for signing this important piece of legislation into law to get thousands of veterans back to work,” Denham said.