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Albano, Mosquera, Eustace & Benson Bill to Help Returning Veterans Find Work Gets Final Legislative OK

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Nelson Albano, Gabriela Mosquera, Timothy Eustace and Daniel R. Benson to help veterans find work received final legislative approval on Thursday and now heads to the governor’s desk.

The bill (A-2882) requires professional or occupational boards that issue professional or occupational licenses or certificates to give credit towards its requirements for licensure or certification for training, education and experience received while serving as a member of the Armed Forces that is substantially equivalent to the training, education, or experience required for licensure or certification.

“The unemployment rate for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan is a stunning 29 percent,” said Milam (D-Atlantic/Cape May/Cumberland). “That means that nearly one in every three Americans who fought to defend freedom across the globe cannot find work when they return home. That is just unacceptable, and we must find ways like this to change it.”

“The unemployment rate among our returning heroes is shameful,” said Mosquera (D-Gloucester/Camden). “These are men and women who fought for our liberty, yet when they come home they are shuffled off to the unemployment line. We need to focus on changing that with common sense bills like this one.”

“If we trust these men and women with our freedom, then we should be able to trust the training they received from our Armed Forces,” said Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic). “Having nearly one-third of our returning veterans out-of-work is just flat-out wrong. A bill like this is quite simply the right thing to do.”

“Our veterans are among the best trained people you’ll find, so let’s trust that training and put these men and women to work,” said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “These veterans deserve our best, not red tape that makes it even more difficult for them to find a job. They’ve helped us by defending our freedom, so let’s help them provide for themselves and their families with a good-paying job.”

Under the bill, a professional or occupational board shall issue a license of certification to an applicant who presents evidence to the board that:

  • the applicant has been honorably discharged from active military service;
  • the training, education and experience the applicant received while serving as a member of the Armed Forces of the United States, together with any training, education and experience obtained outside of the Armed Forces, is substantially equivalent to training, education or experience required for licensure or certification; and
  • the applicant complies with all other requirements for licensure, including without limitation, any requirement for examination.

In order to determine substantial equivalence of education, a professional or occupational board shall consider education courses directly relevant to the profession or occupation for which a license or certification is sought that are part of the applicant’s military training or service that meet the equivalence standards of the American Council on Education. To determine substantial equivalence of experience, a professional or occupational board shall consider whether the experience gained in the military is equivalent to that which would have been gained in the civilian sector doing similar work.

The bill would take effect 12 months following enactment, but each board may take anticipatory administrative action as deemed necessary for the implementation of this act.

The bill was approved 76-0 by the General Assembly on Thursday, and 36-0 by the full Senate in February.