Michelle Obama, Jill Biden Seek Easier Transition For US Service Members

Today First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden urged all of America’s governors to ease the burden US service members face as they transition into the civilian work force.

Colleen Curtis wrote in the White House blog today:

“Too often the talented men and women who have served our country face barriers that make it difficult to find jobs that capitalize on the skills they have gained through their military education and experience. Many service members and veterans are required to repeat education or training in order to receive industry certifications and state occupational licenses, even though much, and in some cases, all, of their military training and experience overlaps with credential requirements.”

The US invaded Iraq with 150,000 soldiers and the number grew to become as high as 165,000. Over 1.5 million people served in the Iraq war over the course of the campaign. The war in Afghanistan has become America’s second longest conflict, after Vietnam. Thousands of service members have come back wounded, physically or mentally, and even some of those that come back fine have difficulty adjusting to a work force that has limited use for their prior skills.

In her speech given to the National Governors Association today, Mrs. Obama said:

“In the coming years, more than one million service members will make the transition to civilian life.

Think about that – a million people hanging up their uniforms… figuring out what’s next… and doing everything they can to make that change as seamless as possible for their families.

So the fact is, while this time of war may be ending, our responsibilities to our troops and their families will only be ramping up.”

Some work has already been done. Last year, the Department of Defense established the Military Credentialing and Licensing Task Force to help service members earn civilian credentials and licenses. Earlier this month, Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden pushed a joint report from the Departments of Defense and Treasury that outlined best practices states could adopt to ease the burden on military spouses forced to reacquire state licenses and credentials as they their country calls on them to move from state to state. Today, the two challenged the nation’s governors to take legislative or executive action of their own to ease the burden on America’s military spouses.