One of the Best Ideas Ever…But It’s Not Enough

In a recent issue of Army Times, it was announced the Army will soon develop a certification program for many military occupational specialties. This is one of the best ideas the military has ever had, but it’s only the beginning. There is much more that needs to be done to assist separating service members in finding gainful employment.

One of the greatest challenges separating service members face is obtaining employment after taking off the uniform. Sometimes this is because they move somewhere employment is unavailable. At others, it is because their MOS does not correspond to the civilian career they desire. These are issues unable to be addressed by DOD. However, often times the problem is proving to a potential employer that your military training and experience makes you the best candidate.

Under the current system, the burden is on the potential employer to understand military training, or take the service member’s word of what it means, without concrete documentation to back it up. No diplomas, no training certifications and no licenses. This may have worked at one time. This may work in some isolated instances. But it is not how the majority of civilian employers do their hiring. Many require such documentation be attached to applications before the candidate will even be considered.

If the Army moves forward with this program and provides certificates and licenses similar to those received in the same civilian professions, that would be a big step forward. But much more needs to be done.

First, the same practice needs to be applied DOD wide. This is not something effecting only Army personal, every separating service member faces the same hardship.

Second, the DOD needs to work with national accreditation organizations to ensure the certificates and licenses will be accepted in as many jurisdictions as possible. If this is not done, very little will be accomplished.

Third, the DOD needs to work with the VA to ensure separating service members have an avenue for obtaining the additional post service training necessary to activate certification or licenses received during their active duty service.

There are obviously military occupational specialties which will not transfer to the civilian job market. I rarely see advertisements stating “Nuclear submarine commander needed” or “Wanted- machine gunner with at least 5 years experience.” But the vast majority of modern military positions do have corresponding civilian professions. There is no reason someone with 10 years of experience operating diagnostic equipment in a military hospital should be forced to stock shelves in a grocery store simply because they do not qualify for the local state license.

I am glad to see that someone is at least thinking about the problem. I am encouraged to see that someone is trying to fix the problem. I will be satisfied when separating service members have the ability to actually put their hard earned, tax payer provided training to use after taking off the uniform.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Tom Burrell

Tom enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserves in 1987. Following service in Desert Storm, he transitioned to active duty with the US Coast Guard. In 1997 he left the USCG to pursue a position in conservation & maritime law enforcement. Tom is currently a Captain and he oversees several programs, including his agency investigation unit. He is also a training instructor in several areas including firearms, defensive tactics and first aid/CPR. In 2006 Tom received his Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Harrisburg Area Community College and in 2010 a Bachelor’s Degree from Penn State University.
Tom Burrell
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