Credentialing Summit serves a call-to-action

The American Legion honed in even further on the veterans licensing and credentialing issue during its National Credentialing Summit, held April 28-29 in Washington, D.C. At the event, the Legion called for action from policymakers and industry players to further understand and further ease the challenges that servicemembers face in applying their military training to earn civilian job licenses and certifications.

The Legion has been focused on the issue since the mid-1990s and has long been dedicated to drawing awareness to it. The organization's Veterans Employment & Education Division hosted the National Credentialing Summit to further that advocacy, bringing together key stakeholders involved in the licensing and credentialing of veterans, and to serve notice for the need to create a seamless system for integrating military skills and training into the civilian workforce.

The problem has always remained the same: Military members gain valuable on-the-job training and certificates during their service that align with civilian job qualifications, but experience difficulty translating them into civilian licenses and certifications. Although each of the service branches provides departing servicemembers with transcripts documenting their military job training and certifications, veterans are not benefitting from this integral tool because there are currently no nationwide measures to combat the entirety of the issues that relate to military-to-civilian credentialing.

Some federal laws have addressed the issue, but it remains largely a matter of state law because many licenses and certifications are issued by state agencies. This means that it varies on a state-by-state basis as to whether a veteran can apply his or her military training toward a civilian-equivalent license or certification.

"I think The American Legion doing this is absolutely phenomenal," said retired Col. Patricia Ross, military affairs director for the Technical College System of Georgia. "I've taken away so many notes (at the conference) on what others are doing to hopefully help my own state."

The issue continues to loom large as the newest generation of veterans continue to be unemployed at a rate higher than the national population. As of September 2014, the unemployment rate for Post-9/11 veterans was just over six percent, while approximately 159,000 veterans across the country experience unemployment.

The American Legion will release a detailed report in the future regarding findings and best practices shared during the summit.