What is Co-Managed Care for Veterans?

Veterans Skills to Jobs Act

President Barack Obama signed in to law H.R. 4155, the Veterans Skills to Jobs Act, on Monday, July 23rd, 2012. Introduced by Representative Jeff Denham (R-CA) and co-sponsored by Representative Tim Walz (D-MN), this bipartisan act means to alleviate redundancies in licensure procedures and requirements while transitioning from a military to civilian career. A simultaneous bill, S. 2239, the Veteran Skills to Jobs Act, was introduced in the Senate by Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) in order to expedite discussion and passage (the House bill was passed first).

This law requires federal agencies that issue professional licensure to accept training and certification gained through the military in the same manner that they accept civilian licensure programs. Many Military Occupation Specialties (MOS) not only meet but often exceed the hours and level of expertise needed to receive the equivalent license in the civilian world. Veterans would discover that although they were fully qualified for the civilian jobs, their lack of licensure required them to go back to a civilian training institute to meet licensure requirements, wasting time and money on education already obtained.

At 17.3 percent, the national unemployment rate for our Post-9/11 veterans is appalling. The unemployment rate for all veterans is 8.3 percent. This bill will eliminate wasted time and talent by streamlining licensure for those veterans who already meet federal requirements, thereby reducing the unemployment rate. President Obama succinctly affirmed the object of the bill with his statement, “No veteran who fought for our nation overseas should have to fight for a job when they return home…we must all continue our efforts to ensure that these talented men and women who would be an asset to any company have every opportunity to succeed after they serve our nation.”

Unfortunately, as a federal law, this does not affect professional licenses issued by states and counties. A few states have already addressed the transferability issues between military training and civilian licensure, but not many. More must be done at this level to help our veterans return to the civilian workforce as quickly as possible without the duplication in training and the waste of money and time.

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