Kaine pushes legislation to help military transition to civilian life
U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, a member of the Armed Services Committee, introduced the Credentialing Improvement for Troop Talent (CREDIT) Act of 2014 to help servicemembers acquire credentials that would ease their transition into the civilian workforce. The legislation would expand the authority of the military Tuition Assistance (TA) Program to cover credentialing expenses by authorizing the use of funds to pay for licensing fees and additional expenses such as training materials and test fees. Currently, the TA program provides financial assistance for postsecondary courses and degree programs but does not cover certification and license fees.
“While some servicemembers transition out of the military and decide to pursue a degree at a college or university, countless others are ready to immediately enter the workforce with the skills they obtained through military training,” said Kaine. “The CREDIT Act will provide servicemembers with the resources they need to obtain civilian credentials while on active duty, easing their entry into the civilian workforce and improving their chances of getting quickly hired by a private sector employer.”
The CREDIT Act builds on the first bill that Kaine introduced in the Senate, the Troop Talent Act of 2013, which improved the alignment of skills acquired in the military with civilian credentials required for post-service employment. Passage of key components of the Troop Talent Act in the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) improved the credentialing process, but many servicemembers struggle with how to pay the fees associated with acquiring these credentials. The CREDIT Act allows them to use TA program funds. The legislation also ensures the quality of the credentials by requiring accrediting agencies to meet national and international standards for licensing and certification.
The CREDIT Act has received the support of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars.
“On behalf of the 2.4 million members of the American Legion, I would like to express support for the CREDIT Act,” said Daniel M. Dellinger, National Commander of the American Legion, the nation’s largest veterans service organization. “The military invests a significant amount of resources in the training of servicemembers. … This bill will help to clear away some unnecessary obstacles to obtain formal private sector recognition of their military training, experiences, and skill sets through civilian certification and licensure.”
“On behalf of the men and women of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW) and our Auxiliaries, I am pleased to offer our support for the CREDIT Act of 2014,” said Ryan Gallucci, Deputy Director of the VFW National Veterans Service. “Your legislation to authorize the Department of Defense to allow servicemembers expanded use of military Tuition Assistance benefits for civilian licensing and credentialing is a laudable initiative that stands to benefit both servicemembers and the military.”
The Credentialing Improvement for Troop Talent Act (CREDIT Act) of 2014 would:
- Build on the Troop Talent Act by providing members of the Armed Forces with tools to cover the costs of fees associated with civilian credentials while on active duty.
- Expand the authority of the military Tuition Assistance Program to cover credentialing expenses by authorizing the use of funds to pay for licensing fees and additional expenses such as training materials and test fees.
- Ensure the quality of credentials attained by servicemembers by requiring credentialing agencies to meet national and international accreditation standards for licensing and certification.