Thursday, January 20, 2011

WA Bills to Help Vets Win Jobs

Military veterans who seek civilian employment will not have to repeat training in areas where they are already experienced, under legislation introduced this week by Rep. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island and Sen. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor.

Senate Bill 5307/House Bill 1417 and SB 5308/HB 1418 would evaluate the training men and women have received and apply it to educational and licensing requirements in the private sector.

These bills give credit where it’s due. Many military personnel have undergone highly specialized training and education in certain areas, so we should honor that for licensing requirements. Duplicating efforts doesn’t benefit anyone, Rolfes said.

The bills provide similar benefits for different groups of professions:
  • SB 5308/HB 1418 develops a process to evaluate training for educational credit or professional licensing requirements for cosmetologists, barbers, manicurists, engineers, land surveyors and security guards.
  • SB 5307/HB 1417 does the same for health professions, including osteopathic physicians’ assistants, physicians’ assistants, radiologic technologists, nursing assistants, respiratory care practitioners, health case assistants and surgical technologists.
The men and women in our armed forces not only acquire valuable skills, they often perform their jobs under the intense life-and-death pressures of combat conditions, Kilmer said. It’s a poor use of their time and money to ask folks to get retrained for things they’ve already learned just so they can get a professional license and get to work in a civilian position. This state should be rewarding knowledge, not seat time.

The Chamber supports vets getting credit for training taxpayers have already paid for and the vets have gained experience. This is part of the Chamber's legislative TEACH agenda.  The bills also have the support of legislators from Pierce County, home of Joint Base Lewis-McChord and a large military population.

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