Legion Aims to Boost Value of Military Training

By Fales, John | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), November 17, 1997 | Go to article overview

Legion Aims to Boost Value of Military Training


Fales, John, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


DEAR SGT. SHAFT:

For decades, the armed forces have lured recruits with promises that military training would increase their value to future civilian employers. To be sure, military people receive high-quality cutting-edge training in skills ranging from the treatment of battlefield wounds to the operation of nuclear power plants.

But has reality matched the promise? Do civilian employers give newly discharged veterans proper credit for military training? Based on talks with countless veterans, I'm concerned that individuals leaving the armed forces may have a needlessly difficult transition to the private sector.

A year ago, the American Legion began a formal study of the problem. Rather than assemble a little information about a great many occupations, we decided to focus upon two - health care and aircraft maintenance. The key question was whether military training and experience was recognized by the people and agencies that award formal certificates and licenses.

The study, now complete, highlights a number of problems and solutions affecting the certification and licensing of military people in the health care and aircraft maintenance fields:

The military should provide information on civilian certification and licensing while recruits are still in training, as well as information on training resources on active duty. This permits troops to meet licensing and certification requirements before discharge.

Everyone involved in the transition should ensure that service members on discharge have information on certification and licensing requirements.

The military should support active-duty personnel who wish to pursue civilian licensing and certification requirements while still in uniform.

Military training commands should provide information to civilian licensing and certification agencies on the military's system that documents training and experience.

Military training commands should stay up to date with changes in civilian credential standards and incorporate those modifications into courses of study.

We have given the full report of our study to the House and Senate veterans affairs committees; the secretary of defense and the secretaries of the Army, Navy and Air Force; the assistant secretary of labor for veterans' transition assistance; the secretary of labor; the assistant secretary of labor for veterans' employment training; and the National Skills Standards Board. …

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