Military Spouse Licensure Portability

military-spouse

Military spouses want to pursue their education and obtain professional career opportunities that are compatible with the military lifestyle. Service members’ deployments and the unpredictable schedule of the service members’ mission and frequent moves can cause interruptions in the education of military spouses and careers of military spouses. This makes for military spouse employment challenges.  Specific state licensing requirements and industry tenure restrict employment opportunities for military spouse licensing. Military spouses want a rewarding career that matches their education and experience.

Joining Forces, started by the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden is a comprehensive national initiative to mobilize all sectors of society to provide our service members and their families the opportunities and support they have earned. Joining Forces:

  • Supports the academic achievement of military children by helping schools become more responsive to the unique needs of military children and families; and
  • Promotes and supports higher education institutions and programs that expand education opportunities, eases transferability for military-connected students, and expands job training opportunities for military spouses and veterans.

In June 2011, the Defense Department made it easier for military spouses to maintain professional licenses as they move from state to state. In many cases, military spouses move from one community to another when their spouses are assigned to new duty stations.  These transfers can make it very difficult for military spouses and military wives to continue with their careers or to find similar military spouse jobs in new locations without required licensing.

State licensing and certification requirements are intended to ensure that practitioners meet a minimum level of competency. Because each state sets its own licensing requirements, these requirements often vary across state lines. Consequently, the lack of license portability, the transfer of an existing license to a new state with minimal application requirements,  can impose significant administrative and financial burdens on licensed military spouses when they move across state lines. Licensing requirements across states disproportionately affect these families. As a result military spouses licenses are stymied in their efforts.

A Department of Defense report finds that almost 35 percent of military spouses in the labor force require licenses or certification for their profession. Additionally, military spouses are ten times more likely to have moved across state lines in the last year compared to their           civilian counterparts.

Re-licensure may cause many military spouses to decide not to practice in their professions. This is a difficult financial and career choice issue for military members and their military spouses, potentially impacting their desire to stay in the military.

As of June 2012, twenty-three states passed legislation to help military spouses find good jobs. Licensure portability for military spouse licenses will make the transition from one state to another easier. Pro-military spouse license portability measures will help to keep our armed forces strong and military families happy as they change duty stations.

Apply for the Blue Angels

blue-angels-crew

The Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, known as “The Blue Angels” is seeking applications.  They are looking for Navy and Marine Corps enlisted and officer applicants who are highly motivated.   The Navy encourages Enlisted Sailors in the ratings and pay grades below to apply:

– Aviation Maintenance Administrationman, E-5
– Aviation Machinist’s Mate, E-4 and E-5
– Aviation Electrician’s Mate, E-4 and E-5
– Aviation Support Equipment Technician, E-5
– Aviation Electronics Technician (AT), E-4 and E-5
– Aviation Structural Mechanic, E-4 and E-5
– Aviation Ordinanceman, E-5
– Aircrew Survival Equipmentman, E-5
– Mass Communication Specialist, E-4 and E-5
– Logistics Specialist (LS), E-5 and E-6
– Yeoman (YN), E-6

The mission of the Blue Angeles is to enhance the recruiting and to credibly represent the Navy and Marine Corps to the United States and globally.  Those who are seleted for this very special job represent the hundreds of thousands of Sailors and Marines serving worldwide.  The training process is rigorous and challenging.   Selected applicants spent the first ninty days doing this cross-training and then receive their Blue Angels crest.

Each year, the squad goes to Naval Air Facility El Centro located in southern California from January to early March for winter training.  In mid-March begins the show season and it ends with a homecoming show aboard Naval Air Station Pensacola.  This is considered a Type 2 Sea Duty Rotation.

The team performs weekly at an air show during the season with about half of the 130 member squadron  The required obligated service for enlisted personnel is 36 months. Navy officers must have completed one operational fleet tour and pilots are required to stay on active duty for two years after completing their assignment with the Blue Angels.

A little history on the Blue Angels:  They performed their first flight demonstration in June 1946 at their home base, Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville, Florida. Flying the Grumman F6F Hellcat, they were led by Lt. Cmdr. Roy “Butch” Voris.  The Blue Angels transitioned to the Grumman F8F Bearcat and introduced the famous “diamond” formation.  By the end of the 1940s, the Blue Angels were flying their first jet aircraft, the Grumman F9F-2 Panther. In response to the demands placed on Naval Aviation in the Korean Conflict, the team reported to the aircraft carrier USS Princeton as the nucleus of Fighter Squadron 191 (VF-191), “Satan’s Kitten”, in 1950.

The Blue Angels were where they began flying the newer and faster version of the Panther, the F9F-5. The Blue Angels remained in Corpus Christi until the winter of 1954 when they relocated to their present home at NAS Pensacola, Florida. It was here that they progressed to the swept-wing Grumman F9F-8 Cougar.  The next 20 years saw the Blue Angels transition to two more aircraft, the Grumman F11F-1 Tiger (1957) and the McDonnell Douglas F-4J Phantom II (1969).

In December of 1974, the Navy Flight Demonstration Team began flying the McDonnell Douglas A-4F Skyhawk II and was reorganized into the Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron. This reorganization permitted the establishment of a commanding officer vice a flight leader, added support officers, and further redefined the squadron’s mission emphasizing the support of recruiting efforts. Cmdr. Tony Less was the squadron’s first official commanding officer. On November 8, 1986, the Blue Angels completed their 40th anniversary year during ceremonies unveiling their present aircraft, the sleek McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet, the first dual-role fighter/attack aircraft now serving on the nation’s front lines of defense. Since 1946, the Blue Angels have flown for more than 260 million spectators.

Enlisted personnel with a projected rotation date of September 2013 through April 2014 are eligible, but others may apply with command and detailer approval. Navy officer applicants are required to contact their detailer or monitor prior to applying to ensure adequate timing to complete a two- or three-year tour without impacting career milestones.

Applicants will spend time working with the Blue Angeles at either a show site or at their homeport of Pensacola, Florida.  Applications must be postmarked no later than May 1,2013. In June, final selections will be made Personnel selected will usually detach from their present command in October and report in early November. Officer applications should be submitted, per CNATRAINST 1301.4H, no later than April 30.  The final selections will be made in July.

Complete application procedures and requirements are provided in NAVADMIN 354/12 (enlisted) and NAVADMIN 022/13 (officer). CNATRAINST 1301.4H contains further guidance for officer applicants.

Marine Corps applicant eligibility requirements can be found in MARADMIN 676/12.

“Applicants do not necessarily have to have F/A-18 experience to apply for the Blue Angels,” said Williamson. “Every season we hire Sailors from helicopter backgrounds, and O-level (organizational) and I-level (intermediate) technicians. We just hire stellar Sailors and Marines who want to represent the Navy and Marine Corps team.”

Special Program detailers assign Sailors to more than 20 special programs Navy-wide, including recruit division commander duty and recruiting duty, service on the USS Constitution or the USS Arizona Memorial, and assignment to the Navy Ceremonial Guard. MILPERSMAN 1306-900 contains a complete list of special programs available.

For more information, read MILPERSMAN 1306-919 and visit the Blue Angles’ website at www.blueangels.navy.mil.

The Debt We Owe Our Veterans

military-salute-flag

As we remember the tenth anniversary of the Invasion of Iraq, we need to consider the toll a decade of war has taken on those who serve.  We live in a nation where less than one percent of the population serve in our nation’s armed forces.  Those who have worn our nation’s uniform are an illustrious group of men and women whose service and sacrifices have enabled us to live the lives we do, in freedom and prosperity.  Our military makes enormous sacrifices, as do military spouses and military families. Service members have written a blank check up to and including their lives.   We must be cognizant of the debt we owe those who have served.   As many of them return and transition back to civilian life, it is not only our honor to help them, but our moral responsibility.   

The best way for us to honor our Veterans and their families is to provide them their American Dream.  We need to provide our Veterans excellent health care,  including mental health services without prejudice or stigma.   Our military Veterans deserve the ability to own their own homes. Homelessness is unacceptable.  Our Veterans deserve the excellent education benefits they have earned,  provided by the Post 9/11 GI Bill.  They should have the opportunity to use their Veteran education benefits to attend Veteran friendly colleges, universities and vocational schools, giving them the opportunity to better their lives and increase their earning power. We need to provide Veterans jobs and outstanding employment opportunities.    Military Veterans bring skills, a superior work ethic, dedication, discipline and honor to the workplace.   Each of us can do something to make a positive difference while helping our transitioning Veterans.  We will also benefit from stepping up for the men and women who have stepped up for us.  We live in the greatest nation in the world. We need to make sure that those who have sacrificed to make it great are priority one, front and center.

Here are a few statistics to keep in mind:

  • More than 6,000 US Troops have been killed since 2001
  • More than 4,400 US Troops died in Iraq
  • More than 1,600 US Troops died in Afghanistan
  • More than 45,000 US Troops have been wounded since 2001
  • More of our Service Members are committing suicide than dying in combat
  • Over 4,000 young veterans have died from suicides, drug overdoses and vehicle crashes
  • Over 2 Million US Troops have been deployed to Iraq & Afghanistan
  • Over 600,000 Veterans have been treated at Veteran Medical facilities
  • About half of our returning Veterans are eligible for some type of disability
  • More than  one-third of those who have served will develop PTSD
  • The Rand Corporation estimates that approximately 320,000 Service Members have experienced Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) during their deployment.

As a nation, we need to recognize that each Veterans is a link in the unbroken chain of sacrifice.

Debbie Gregory, CEO
MilitaryConnection.com

Tuition Assistance Reinstated

tuition-assistance-reinstated

Yesterday, Thursday, March 21st, Congress voted to protect the popular Tuition Assistance program.  The House passed the continuing resolution 318-109. The legislation includes sequestration’s $85 billion across-the-board cuts, meaning that while the TA program was saved, many other government programs will be affected.

For many young service members this is the first opportunity they have ever had to continue their education and many see it as the most valuable benefit the military provides for them.  By upholding this important education benefit for our military, we are demonstrating to those who serve how much the American people owe them for their service. Congress did the right thing restoring funding to TA. We count on our troop’s honor and integrity and should give no less in return.

The Tuition Assistance program began in 1972 as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. Budget cuts caused by the Sequester went into effect in March. As a result the Army, Marine Corps and Air Force cut the tuition assistance to the TA program. This did not sit well with members of the military, veterans and lawmakers. Groups including Student Veterans of America, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion have been advocating for a restoration of funding.

Courses and degree programs may be academic or technical and can be taken from two or four year institutions on installation, off-installation, or by distance learning for military. The institution must be accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the Department of Education. Tuition is paid directly to the school by the service branch.

The Armed Forces offers soldiers, sailors, marines, guardsman, and airmen several programs to support their education goals including up to 100% Tuition Assistance for college courses taken during off-duty hours.  In addition to degree programs, Tuition Assistance, often referred to as TA, is available to soldiers to complete a high school diploma and to complete certificate programs. However, TA will not be approved to complete credentials at the same or a lower educational level. TA is not authorized for programs beyond a master’s degree.

Service members need to first check with an education counselor for the specifics involving TA with either a visit to their local installation education office or by going online to a virtual education center. TA could be used for the following programs:

  • Vocational & Technical Programs for Military
  • Undergraduate Programs for Military
  • Graduate Programs for Military
  • Independent Study for Military
  • Distance Learning Programs for Military

In order for military service members to be eligible for TA education benefits, he or she must have enough time remaining in the service to complete the course for which he or she applied. After the completion of a course, an officer using TA must fulfill an active duty service obligation that runs parallel with-not in addition to-any existing service obligation.

Each branch of the services has their own criteria for eligibility, obligated service, application process and restrictions. This money is usually paid directly to the institution by the individual services.  This military education benefit is one of the most valuable benefits given to those who serve our nation. Tuition Assistance helps active duty soldiers and Army reservists earn an education to advance their military careers and transition to civilian life.

A Compelling Case for Hiring Veterans

military-doctor

In spite of general economic trends, health care is one of our nation’s strongest growth industries. There are a number of reasons for this growth; among them, the aging of our population, health care reform, and the increased survival rates for severely ill and injured patients. One of the big questions faced by healthcare recruiters is whether or not you will be able to meet the escalating demand. The difficulty of your situation is acknowledged. Healthcare professionals in the military and veteran communities number in the tens of thousands.  Those who serve our country are responsible, disciplined, possess tremendous leadership skills and cover a wide variety of specialties.  So how do you, the healthcare recruiter, reach this richly diverse audience, and what challenges will you face? Moreover, what strategies can you utilize to overcome these challenges?

One of the main obstacles facing the average veteran who is looking for a civilian opportunity is the confusion as to how their skill set translates, i.e. deciphering the acronyms that make up veterans’ experience. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is working to align accreditation requirements for nursing and physician assistant programs with enlisted medical training.  This is so medics and corpsmen can receive academic credit for their military health care service. The Veterans Administration currently provides clinical education for approximately 100,000 health professional trainees annually, including students from more than 600 schools of nursing. The Veterans Administration is the nation’s largest provider of graduate medical education and a major contributor to medical and scientific research.

Another obstacle is the potential for PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, now often referred to as PTS, Post Traumatic Syndrome. Although statistically quoted at approximately 16%, the figure runs much lower for healthcare professionals, who see life threatening illnesses and catastrophic injuries on a daily basis.

The remaining challenge is addressing the discipline and rigor of military experience and its rigid structure, which is conducive to brevity, directness and discipline, and may be at odds with the civilian healthcare environment. The important points to keep in mind are what these professionals bring to the table:

  • Military veterans bring a strong sense of responsibility to their work.
  • Military veterans work extremely well under pressure.
  • Military veterans see a task through to completion.
  • Military veterans possess strong leadership skills.
  • Military veterans possess a high degree of professionalism.
  • Military veterans possess problem-solving skills.

To address these issues, employers will need to do more to educate themselves about military culture. The payoff for these efforts is the ability to meet healthcare staffing needs with our nation’s best and brightest. As technology changes and advances, the need for healthcare workers who possess the most up-to-date skillset increases. Some of the best trained healthcare workers come from the military. With state of the art, technologically advanced breakthroughs in treatment, we have seen a dramatic decrease in the number of casualties, but at the same time, the statistics of those requiring ongoing medical treatment has dramatically increased. Starting at the top, there has been a years-long shortage of physicians and surgeons. This shortage taxes the entire healthcare system, as much of the burden of care then transfers down the line to nurses, physician assistants, therapists and home health aides.

Military service attracts many experienced healthcare professionals as well as those who want to become nurses, physicians and allied health professionals. Those who serve our nation have the right mind-set to care for others. They are also often motivated by the superior education benefits and/or the forgiveness of their student loans.  Military and veteran hospitals face recruitment and retention challenges too, but they are different from those in the civilian world.  Military and government service can be a rotating door.  Many who have reached their goals and completed their obligations separate from military service. Guard & Reservists who have been activated for a specific term will complete their activation term and return to civilian life, often wanting something different from the civilian healthcare position they had prior to being called to duty.   Government healthcare professionals can attain full retirement at a fairly young age and desire to move to a second career in the private sector earning a second retirement.

Candidates from the military and veteran communities are highly viable and make exceptional employees for our nation’s hospitals.   Employers will gain valuable employees and it is the right thing to do.  In November of last year, the President signed into law the VOW To Hire Heroes Act.  This law provides tax credits for hiring Veterans.  The tax incentives vary from a minimum of $2,400 to as much as $9,600 per hire.  These factors make a compelling case for your organization to recruit and hire Veterans.

We can help you achieve this goal.  MilitaryConnection.com is known for connecting military healthcare professionals in all disciplines with outstanding civilian and government jobs.  We also work with Transition Officers, Vocational Officers and Veteran Service Officers nationwide. We focus on providing a multitude of resources for healthcare professionals including but not limited to:

  • Licensing Boards for Physicians, Nurses & Allied Health Professionals
  • Professional Associations by State and Specialty
  • Professional Conferences
  • Directory of Hospital & Healthcare Employers
  • Nursing Columns, Q & A’s and Articles
  • Military Medicine
  • Healthcare Interview Questions
  • Virtual Healthcare Job Fair
  • Live Job Fairs
  • Job Tips
  • Job Board featuring thousands of Jobs
  • More…..
  • If you Google “Healthcare Jobs For Military, MilitaryConnection.com is front and center on the first page out of millions of listings.  This site is one of the most comprehensive online Military/Veteran Directories on the Internet with thousands of pages of resources and information attracting both active and passive healthcare candidates.

We hope that you will include military and veteran healthcare professionals in your recruitment plans.   Doing so will place you several steps ahead of your competition.   MilitaryConnection.com is designed to enable you to repeat your recruitment message to this audience of viable healthcare professionals.

MilitaryConnection.com offers many effective recruitment advertising options for your consideration.  We can also partner your organization with respected military non-profits to increase your positive visibility and be a win/win for all.  MilitaryConnection.com has the honor of working with the most respected military and veteran non-profits in the nation.  MilitaryConnection.com is valued member of the military/veteran communities.  Additionally, we are proud supporters of the Joining Forces program.  Check us out because when the next tour is back home, it’s on MilitaryConnection.com!

About the Author:

Debbie Gregory is CEO of MilitaryConnection.com. The website, launched in 2006 is known as The Go To Site for all things military. MilitaryConnection.com is a member of the International Association of Employment Websites and has been designated as a top 100 Employment Website by Weddles.com. In December, 2011, Ms. Gregory was invited to the White House to meet the President and First Lady as a leader in the Veteran Community. Additionally, she was appointed by the Governor of California to the Interagency Council for Veterans. MilitaryConnection.com in 2011 was awarded the Spirit of Small Business Award by Pacific Coast Business Times. In 2009, Ms. Gregory was named Woman Business Owner of the Year by the National Association of Women Business Owners, Ventura. MilitaryConnection.com is a member of the Better Business Bureau and holds an A+ ranking.

Hiring Rate for Veterans Improves

hire-a-veteran-flag

The veteran employment rate greatly improved in February. 2012. The jobless rate for Post 9/11 veterans dropped 2.3% from a high of 11.6 percent in January.  The veteran unemployment rate of all veteran generations was decreased by .7 percent. Labor statistics indicate the jobless rate dropped to an annual average of 9.9% last year from 12.1% in 2011. This February the overall veteran unemployment rate was 6.9 percent.

Finally soaring veteran unemployment that has challenged veterans for five years is beginning to ebb. Although veterans as a whole have a lower unemployment rate than the nation at large, younger veterans who served in the years following the Sept. 11 attacks are having a much harder time finding work. The job problems for younger vets have continued despite a wide range of private and public efforts.

Companies such as Wal-Mart, General Electric and many others announced programs designed to hire more veterans. Organizations like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have helped put on hundreds of job fairs around the company. The Transition Assistance Program (TAP) was established to meet the needs of separating service members during their period of transition into civilian life by offering job-search assistance and related services.

Some employment problems for veterans include learning new skills and reeducating themselves so Veterans are viable candidates for new occupational areas.  Joining Forces has brought together industries to offer a fast track certification program for Veterans with credit for their military experience.

MilitaryConnection.com is very happy to shout this wonderful news that finally the unemployment rate for Post 9/11 Veterans is dropping.  Military Connection educates employers on the value of hiring Veterans and the work ethic they bring to their jobs.   This site is a Top 100 Employment Web Site and is trying to make a difference by offering a multitude of resources for Veterans and transitioning military.  One of the many resources is the Military Skills Translator that is featured on our site.  Veterans can use this tool to determine the civilian jobs that are a fit their skill set.

There are all types of resources for transitioning military and veterans seeking employment.  Military wants to be the front and center employment connection for Veterans seeking good jobs.

Veteran’s Opportunity to Work

veterans-training

Unemployed veterans may be heading back to school in mass under a federal program to get out-of-work veterans trained and back in the job market. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, the veteran unemployment rate for recently discharged veterans is nearly three times the national rate.

The VOW to Hire Heroes Act was passed by Congress and signed into law in 2011. Included in the law is the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP).   According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the Veteran Unemployment rate for those who served on active duty post 9/11 is at 12.1 percent. Veteran unemployment rate for male veterans, age 18 to 24, is even higher at 29.1 percent. VRAP offers 12 months of veteran career training and financial aid.  The VOW program is mandatory for all reserve component members who serve 180 days or more on active duty.

The GI Bill opened the door to higher education for veteran employment.  It’s credited with helping to contribute to the post-World War II economic boom by greatly widening the pool of educated professionals in the American work force.

There are several veterans’ debt relief programs, aimed at reducing or eliminating the burden of debt that military veterans and their families face. The Veterans Affairs provides a Debt Management Center (DMC) Homepage that deals with veteran financial aid. Veterans, members of the Armed Forces and family members who incur debts as a result of their participation in most VA compensation, pension and education programs as well as home loans closed before January 1, 1990 receive letters from DMC notifying them of their rights as well as their obligation to reimburse the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Include the skills you developed as a service member when you develop a resume for soldiers. These skills are truly valuable and in high demand, but describing those skills to a prospective employer can be difficult. Veterans can be counted on to get the job done. Army officials have announced a new program for transitioning soldiers they say will help curb veteran unemployment and help improve their resume for soldiers even better than their civilian counterparts.  The Soldier To Civilian Work Program (SCWP) is designed to help unemployed veterans assess their skills, create resumes for soldiers and help them get a head start into the civilian world.

Banks Illegally Foreclosed On Servicemembers

foreclosed-spraypaint-garage

Banks wrongfully foreclosed the homes of more than 700 military families during the financial crisis, a number much higher than originally thought. The federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) provides certain legal protections to military personnel while they are on active duty.  Additionally, Michigan’s Act 138 of 2008 provides protection against certain types of foreclosures for military personnel while they are on active duty and up to six months after their tour of duty has ended.

Some of the largest American banks foreclosed on active duty including Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo.  These banks wrongfully seized the homes of hundreds of American service members on active duty.  It seems they are ignoring the protections to active duty provided by SCRA (Servicemembers Civil Relief Act).

In January of this year, 2013 A U.S. congressional oversight panel asked regulators to delay a multibillion-dollar mortgage settlement with 14 large banks so that the lawmakers could review the deal. Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo uncovered the foreclosures of active duty military while analyzing mortgages as part of a multibillion-dollar settlement deal with federal authorities. In January, regulators ordered the banks to identify military members and other borrowers who were evicted in violation of federal law.

The analysis, which was turned over to regulators in recent days, provides the first detailed glimpse into the extent of wrongful foreclosures amid the collapse of the housing market. Lenders previously acknowledged that they relied on faulty documents to push through foreclosures.

This is a black mark on American banks. It is a losing proposition for the banks to delay settlements. The American people hold our service members in high esteem.  Snatching homes of military service members while they are on active duty in Iraq or Afghanistan and in harm’s way will bring more distain on the banks.   Those who serve and their loved ones are making huge sacrifices to protect our nation and they should not lose their homes because of it.

It would be in the best interest of these banks to make a quick settlement.  They need to follow the law and respect our nation’s heroes.

We invite you to tell us what you think on this issue.  If you have had issues with banks while serving, please share them.  MilitaryConnection.com thanks all the men and women who wear our nation’s uniform.  They deserve the best America has to offer including obtaining excellent  jobs,  an education and the American Dream of owning their own home.