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New Department of Labor Portal Helps Military Spouses Find Employment

The United States Department of Labor has created a tool for military spouses seeking employment in fields that require licensure.

This is big news for the military spouse community. Employment remains one of the biggest challenges for military spouses. This is particularly true for those in positions that require licensure or continuing education.

Frequent moves make maintaining current licenses very difficult. When a military family relocates to a new state, a spouse pursuing employment is required to meet the license requirements of their new home. This often means applying for a new license, transferring an existing license, paying fees, and showing proficiency through tests or experience.

An Interactive Map

“Many states have laws to make it easier for military spouses relocating from out of state to carry their occupational licenses to a new state,” the Department of Labor website says. The “Military Spouse License Transfer Options” tool shows what each state provides to make the process easier.

An interactive map shows which states will endorse, expedite, or provide temporary licenses to military spouses moving to their area. The majority of states shown on the map will do all three.

Those states that will endorse existing licenses will “allow state boards or regulators to recognize active credentials from another state.” Expedited licenses will “allow licensing boards or the regulatory department director to receive the application, license the individual, and afterward validate the documents from states and institutions.” Temporary licenses “allow a military spouse with a current license from another state to secure employment while completing state licensing requirements or while awaiting primary source verification of other documents.”

Each state includes a link to state laws that apply to licensing requirements.

State Occupational License Finder

The tool also includes a search function that allows users to search by occupation, license name, or licensing agency in any state or U.S. territory.

The search takes the user to Career One Stop’s database. The website is sponsored by the Department of Labor and includes information for job seekers about license requirements, credentials, and training.

The new initiative is a collaboration between the Department of Labor and the Military Spouse Employment Partnership. The two organizations will work to “connect military spouses with employers.”

Licensure requirements are often decided at the state level. The tool developed by the Department of Labor shows how to obtain a license in each state, an important step for those wanting to continue employment when they move.

“State occupational licensing requirements often play a significant role in limiting access to jobs for military spouses,” wrote Matt Miller, deputy assistant secretary for policy regarding the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service. “For those who relocate to another state, and work in a profession that requires a license, the burden of obtaining a new license for the same profession can be costly and time-consuming.”

The time out of the workforce and applicable fees while licenses are obtained can make even the most dedicated professional consider if pursuing work is worth the time and money.

This tool developed by the Department of Labor is an important step to easing the burden of relocation on military families. Many military spouses want to have meaningful work in a field that they love, but struggle to do so due to complex licensing requirements. Many also need the additional income to support their family.

The flexibility and dedication to service that military spouses display on a daily basis is admirable. The Department of Labor, federal and state governments, and private companies are all seeing the value that military families bring to the workforce.

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Katie Begley

Katie Begley is a US Naval Academy graduate and former Surface Warfare Officer. In addition to being a military spouse, she is a freelance writer specializing in travel, education, and parenting subjects. Katie has worked in numerous communications roles for volunteer organizations and professionally for a local parenting magazine.

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