Legislation would make it easier for veterans, military spouses to earn occupational licenses for employment
ST. PAUL, MN – Military families make great sacrifices for our country, regularly moving to new states and often raising children alone during their loved ones’ deployments. To ensure recent veterans and military spouses are not forced to sacrifice their careers as well, Lt. Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon is joining forces with several state lawmakers this session to make it easier for military families to obtain the occupational licenses they need to qualify for certain jobs in Minnesota.
The “Joining Forces for Jobs” initiative, authored by Rep. Mary Murphy (DFL – Hermantown) and Sen. Tom Saxhaug (DFL – Grand Rapids) would simplify and speed up the process for military spouses and recent veterans who have earned an occupational license in another state, to qualify for licensure in Minnesota. The push for these reforms is part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s nationwide Joining Forces initiative to support and improve the lives of American military families. This effort also squarely aligns with Governor Dayton’s focus on making state government faster, simpler, and more efficient during the 2014 “Unsession.”
“Many occupations require a state license, which can create employment challenges for military spouses when they move, and are forced to wait to receive a new license before finding a new job,” said Lt. Governor Prettner Solon, who was a licensed clinical psychologist for more than 30 years. “I am proud to be working with Rep. Murphy and Sen. Saxhaug on these important reforms that will help our veterans and military families access the jobs they need to support themselves and their families.”
A recent study from Syracuse University found that 90 percent of female spouses of active duty service members reported being underemployed – meaning they have more formal education or experience than their current position requires. Roughly 35 percent of military spouses work in professions that require an occupational license.
"Military families sacrifice a great deal to serve our state and country," said Rep. Murphy. “This action will make it easier for military spouses to support their families and pursue their professions in Minnesota."
“A military family on the move has more than enough to keep them busy. This bill will help speed up the process of getting them or their spouse the certification they need to get a new job quicker and with fewer headaches,” said Sen. Saxhaug.
More on Minnesota’s “Joining Forces for Jobs” Initiative
As part of their Joining Forces initiative, First Lady Michele Obama and Dr. Jill Biden have called on all states to take action to streamline state licensing for service members, their spouses, and veterans. The bill, which will be introduced later today by Rep. Murphy and Sen. Saxhaug responds to the First Lady’s call to action, requiring state agencies and licensing boards to issue a temporary license to active duty service members, military spouses, and veterans who have a current license in another state.
These reforms would allow eligible individuals to secure employment, while completing the Minnesota-specific requirements that are different from what was required by their previous licensing state. To ensure permanent licensing occurs quickly, the bill would also require licensing entities to establish a process to expedite licenses for military service members, their spouses, and recent veterans.