Published February 25, 2013
WASHINGTON – First lady Michelle Obama will challenge governors to make it easier for military members to transfer their skills to civilian jobs.
Mrs. Obama wants states to pass legislation or take executive action allowing veterans to receive professional credentials or licenses based on their experiences in the military. Administration officials said that would allow veterans to apply for jobs more quickly rather than having to take courses for skills they already have.
Mrs. Obama will announce her proposals Monday during remarks to governors who are in Washington for their annual meeting. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will also address the governors during the event at the White House.
The veterans' initiatives are part of Mrs. Obama's "Joining Forces" program, which aims to help veterans and their families. The program has focused in particular on assisting military personnel find civilian jobs, an effort that is expected to take on more urgency as more than 60,000 U.S. troops return home from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
Mrs. Obama will ask states to focus in particular on making it easier for veterans to obtain credentials and licenses for commercial driving, nursing, and emergency medical services, administration officials said. The White House has outlined suggested legislative language states can use for implementing the changes.
Officials did not have an estimate for how much it would cost states to implement the credentialing programs. But they suggested the programs could eventually be a cost-saver by keeping veterans off unemployment.
Mrs. Obama has previously called on states to help military spouses transfer their state-specific credentials when their families move due to changes in deployment. Seventeen states have passed such legislation over the past year, joining 11 states that already had laws on the books.
The officials requested anonymity in order to speak ahead of Mrs. Obama's announcement.