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States Step Up to Remove Barriers for Military Spouse Employment!

States Step Up to Remove Barriers for Military Spouse Employment!

Robert L. Gordon III
Robert L. Gordon III

Military spouses deserve every opportunity to have meaningful jobs and careers and should not be hindered by the financial or administrative burden of getting a new license in their chosen career field with every PCS move across state lines.  We understand these are real concerns and are doing everything we can to ensure that you can pursue your career goals and help provide for your family.

The Department of the Treasury and DoD released a report this month highlighting the employment challenges of military spouses and what is being done to remove barriers for thousands of spouses with occupational licenses.  Whether you are a teacher, nurse, or health care worker, we are advocating for states to pass legislation that makes it easier for you to obtain employment.

The report highlights concrete steps states can take to make it easier for military spouses to find work after relocating, such as:

  • Facilitating the endorsement of a current license held by a relocating spouse from another state as long as the requirements are equivalent between states
  • Providing a temporary or provisional license to allow military spouses to work while fulfilling new requirements, and
  • Expediting application procedures

As of February 2012, thirteen states have introduced bills implementing these best practices, and we are encouraging more states to join them.  If you are interested in learning more, access the full report, Supporting our Military Families: Best Practices for Streamlining Occupational Licensing Across State Lines, or visit MilitaryHOMEFRONT for a state-by-state breakdown.

We are even addressing special employment areas, such as the law.  Unlike other occupations, attorneys do not fall under normal state licensing agencies, and the bar examination process often costs thousands of dollars and takes many months to complete.  Because the law licenses are completed through the American Bar Association (ABA) and state supreme courts, MC&FP is working with the Military Spouse JD Network, an organization that helps military spouses with law degrees navigate licensing rules. The Network’s mission is to support military spouses by advocating for provisional bar membership, encouraging companies to hire military spouses, and providing a military spouse network for support and information.

And there is more good news:  this month, the ABA voted to support changes in state licensing rules for military spouses with law degrees.  With this vote, the ABA has acknowledged the challenges facing military spouses and is also encouraging states to do what they can to remove licensing barriers and support employment opportunities for them.

The team here at MC&FP and organizations like the Military Spouse JD Network are dedicated to eliminating barriers to portable and meaningful career options for military spouses.  We will continue to update you with news on our efforts as well as what states are doing to support military spouses. If you have any questions or would like to share your own experience related to licensing barriers, please join our discussion.  Your voices are helping shape and define the work that we do!  Until next time, be well!

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  • This is good news to hear about states finally taking some postive action in helping military spouses with career opportunities. I hope that every state will soon join the ones that have already taken the initiative to make life for military families a little easier. At least this news is encouraging.

  • Tara Moore says:

    I wish the GS system was set up to accomodate military spouses. If you finally do get hired, you most likely have to resign before you gain status due to a PCS move. I can’t even get referred for an interview for a job I’ve been doing for 13 years because I don’t have status or veteran’s preference. This is so frustrating. Starting to lose hope.
    Unemployed in Colorado.

  • Ondrae Edwards says:

    I have been a spouse for 15 years, prior service 10 years and ever since my wife was a PFC back in ’97 I have not been able to get into the system to even get a government job.I got onto CPOL back in 2001 but since then everything that I try to look into has been re-routed to either USA-JOBS or GOV-JOBS. I have had to change my career path and recently achieved my A.A.S Web Graphic Design degree and I am still looking for a job on Peterson AFB, Ft.Carson and the AF Academy being here over a year and a half now.
    My wife and I decided to make Colorado Springs our home but I can’t even get a return email from anyone at AAFES or USA-JOBS as I am just trying to use the previous employment skills that I chose to get away from.
    I just feel like I cannot get a break for anything that I am interested in especially being a spouse and prior service