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Matthew A. Kaufman has successfully represented employees in the areas of Family Medical Leave, Disability Discrimination and Wage & Commissions disputes for more than 20 years

Civilian certifications are a barrier for many veterans

The Department of Labor calls on the states to update their certification laws to give credit to military experience and education. A consistent barrier to civilian employment for many military veterans is a lack of proper certification. The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America recently released their 7th Annual Survey of its members, which identified professional certification and education as significant barriers for finding gainful employment.

Specifically the Survey noted the following:

  • Employed people were twice as likely to hold a certification as an unemployed person.
  • More than three-quarters of health care and technical occupation workers had certifications.
  • Certified individuals had a lower unemployment rate.
  • Certifications coincide with higher earnings, 34 percent on average.

The DOL has been pushing states to adopt friendlier stances toward veterans to encourage employment. As part of this strategy, it engaged in a 18-month study with six states to identify problem areas and possible solutions.

It found that many civilian certification authorities require military personnel to engage in duplicative training. Moreover, that these authorities do not recognize military experience and documentation as valid to obtain certifications.

It appears that many veterans use their GI Bill education benefits to pay for this duplicative certification training. So if the states permitted veterans to use their training for civilian certifications, this could result in cost savings for the government or even encourage higher education among veterans.

If you believe that your employer has violated your rights then you may want to contact an attorney. As an employee you have rights to sick pay, a fair wage, safety and protection from discrimination. Additionally, your employer (and supervisor) is bound by any provisions in the employee handbook. An attorney can go over your situation and help ensure that your rights, and the rights of your co-workers, are respected.

Source: Department of Labor, "Getting Veterans the Credentials They've Earned," Mike Michaud, June 3, 2016

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