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Leone Supports Bill to Broaden Veterans' Job Benefits

State Sen. Carlo Leone (D-Stamford/Darien)
State Sen. Carlo Leone (D-Stamford/Darien)
By Barbara Heins

A bill that would require Connecticut employers to consider military training and experience to count towards employment eligibility has the support of state Sen. Carlo Leone and House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz (D–Berlin/Southington).

Aresimowicz, State Rep. Jack Hennessy (D–Bridgeport) and Leone (D–Stamford/Darien) held a press conference in support of the bill — An Act Concerning The Findings of The Military Occupation Specialty Task Force.

The bill is designed to address barriers to employment for military veterans by requiring that state licensing authorities accept military training and experience, where appropriate, as a substitute for additional training and by allowing veterans to gain streamlined occupational certifications.

“As a veteran, and former combat medic, I know firsthand how frustrating it is to come home and not be able to secure a job,” Aresimowicz said. “Veterans are a highly trained and motivated group. When they come home from war, they return with skills, training and experience that should satisfy the requirements for state occupational licenses,” Aresimowicz added.

In 2013, the state had 250,000 veterans with a veteran unemployment rate of 7 percent. Crediting military training and experience in Connecticut’s licensing and educational programs will increase employment rates for Connecticut’s veterans. 

“With approximately 8,000 veterans projected to return to Connecticut as the US Armed Forces draws down its presence overseas, and the demand for skilled workers by multiple industries in our state not being met, it is important that we streamline the process for our returning veterans to fulfill these capacities as it aligns with their military occupational specialty,” said Hennessy.

This bill will require various state agencies to certify, waive, grant, or award certain licenses, registrations, examinations, training, or credit for veterans whose military occupational specialty are similar or meet the same standards as its civilian equivalent.

Within two years of being discharged from service, assuming not dishonorable, all fees will be waived as permitted by federal law. It also will allow college credits to be awarded for military training as it relates to an academic program.

"It seems like common sense that the advanced, on-the-job training received by members of the armed forces would directly translate into the workplace," said Leone. "The people who served this country honorably should not have an unnecessary burden placed on them by requiring that they seek additional training in areas where they have already demonstrated proficiency."

Leone added, "This legislation will help returning servicemen and women find jobs in their fields of expertise by allowing military experience to be accepted as a qualification toward occupational certification." 

The bill was passed by the House of Representatives on Monday and now awaits to be called for a vote in the Senate.

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