President Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union address to the American people Jan. 28, touching on several topics relating to veterans and the military. The president mentioned the "Joining Forces" initiative, which encourages employers to hire veterans and their family members, and the efforts the government is currently taking to get these individuals the benefits and care they need.
Veteran affairs bill aims to ensure benefits
A bill recently introduced to Congress would take the first step toward securing benefits to all veterans, guaranteeing those benefits stay in place in the event of another government shutdown. According to FierceGovernment, the legislation would also repeal the pension decreases put in place at the end of 2013, expand health care coverage, and set new, loftier goals for hiring veterans into the workforce.
While passing the bill would go a long way toward providing veterans promised benefits, other challenges face veterans as they transition into civilian life. One of the biggest obstacles is finding a way to apply special training received in the military to everyday skills that could help veterans find a new career.
It is difficult to return to civilian life
Transitioning from military routine is the subject of much research, including a February 2013 White House report about credentialing and licensing service members and their spouses. In the study, the government pinpointed several occupations for which certain veterans may qualify based on their training. The report also identified common certification discrepancies that prevent military members from obtaining civilian jobs.
"Despite having valuable military experience, veterans frequently find it difficult to obtain formal private sector recognition of their military training experiences and skill sets through civilian certification and licensure," the report stated. "This also makes it difficult for the private sector to capitalize on the resources and time spent training and educating service members."
While there is no easy fix that would provide veterans with a streamlined path to re-enter civilian life, the White House does encourage businesses to value the training obtained during service. New ways to transfer licenses and certifications obtained in the military mean veterans can be recognized as strong candidates during the job hunt.
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