Legion applauds board’s recommendations

Legion applauds board’s recommendations

With the unemployment rate among post 9/11 veterans exceeding 12 percent,American Legion National Commander Fang A. Wong welcomed a recent recommendation from an influential board that the Department of Defense make it easier to certify troops for civilian careers based on their military skills and training.

“The American Legion has long championed this issue,” Wong said. “It makes no sense for someone who serves as an air traffic controller, a combat medic, military police officer or any of the hundreds of other diverse jobs offered by our armed forces to be told that they don’t have the credentials to be performing in these fields in civilian society. We have a magnificent military because of these people. We can all benefit from their skills. Let’s remove any unnecessary barriers.”

The Defense Business Board, a Pentagon advisory group, recently recommended that the military help provide troops with civilian licensing and certification while they obtain their military training. The American Legion has been making similar recommendations for more than 15 years. In 1996, Legion officials met with the Department of Labor to discuss the issue, which led to numerous policy proposals and resolutions passed by The American Legion. Most recently, at its 2010 National Convention in Milwaukee, American Legion delegates unanimously passed a resolution that called on DoD to “ensure that servicemembers be trained, tested, evaluated and obtain any licensure or certification that may be required in the local civilian workforce…”

Moreover, The American Legion helped craft and introduce bills currently being considered by Congress. The Veterans Skills Work Act (S. 2239 and H.R. 4155) would streamline the credentialing process for servicemembers by removing some of the bureaucracies and allowing military training to become the equivalent of federal licensing and certification processes.

“Congress should swiftly pass the Veterans Skills Work Act,” Wong added. “But more must be done on the local level as well. Shouldn’t a military professor who taught English at Annapolis or West Point be certified to teach at your local public high school? The business community – both small and large – can greatly benefit from the skills, experience and work ethic that these military veterans have to offer. They have successfully defended us from our enemies. Let’s defend them from bureaucratic red tape.”

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John La Rochelle

May 10, 2012 - 8:28pm

Forty three years ago I returned from Vietnam to the railroad job I had before I enlisted. After 15 years I could see technology was replacing the railroad job I had, so I quit, and applied and was accepted for a Federal Government job that I did in the military (Transportation Movements Control Specialist). Started as a GS-3 step 1 shipment clerk and in the twenty five years before retirement attained the highset position I could hold without joining management. It wasn't easy, but now happily retired on a pension with health insurance.

m. arnold

May 3, 2012 - 10:35pm

It's bloody about time! Forty years ago, when I separated from army, I went looking for a job. I was told I was not qualified to do the job I had been doing for nearly three years. Instead, I was offered a job that was totally unskilled. In fact, when I quit, they replaced me with a bartender who had no training, experience, real interest in the field.

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