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Credentialing Reform for Veterans Raised in Presidential Debate


During the final 2012 presidential debate on October 22, President Barack Obama highlighted the U.S. government's efforts to assist veterans in obtaining credentials that would apply military skills to a civilian career. The increased availability of industry-recognized, portable certifications is expected to significantly assist qualified veterans in their efforts to obtain high-demand jobs in the IT and manufacturing sectors, among other fields.

In his comments, President Obama noted his administration was working to assist veterans with medical issues, as well as "making sure that the certifications that they need for the good jobs of the future are in place." He cited the case of a former military medic who had dealt "with the most extreme circumstances. When he came home and he wanted to become a nurse, he had to start from scratch. And what we've said is, ‘let's change those certifications.'" As part of this larger effort, on October 19 President Obama signed into law the 2012 Military Commercial Driver's License Act, giving states the authority to lift residency requires for the granting of commercial licenses to current and former military truck drivers. The new law is expected to open up job opportunities for tens of thousands of military-trained drivers.

His opponent, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, has also called for steps that would help veterans to make use of skill acquired in the military following their discharge. In August, Governor Romney told the American Legion's National Convention that, if elected, his administration would "work with the states to create a common credentialing and licensing standard, and encourage credentialing organizations to recognize and grant credit for military training."

Following the completion of military service, credentialing can help demonstrate to civilian employers that the training and skills a given jobseeker obtained in the military are on par with those gained in non-military workplaces. The importance of effective credentialing is suggested by a 2010 survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) organizational member and accredited standards developer, which found that 60% of employers considered translating military skills to civilian job experience to be a complication when considering jobseekers with military experience.

In recent years, ANSI has worked actively with the government on credentialing and other measures intended to boost veterans' employability. Roy Swift, Ph.D., ANSI senior director for personnel credentialing accreditation programs, has collaborated with the Obama administration and the American Legion to address this ongoing issue. In July, Dr. Swift attended a White House Roundtable on Military Credentialing and Information Technology that built on the work of the government's Military Credentialing and Licensing Task Force, created by President Obama in June. [See Related Story]

A full transcript of the October 22, 2012, presidential debate is available here. For more information about ANSI's work on military credentialing, please contact Dr. Swift ([email protected]).


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


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Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


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