First Lady Shines Light on Military Spouse Employment Challenges

Feb 20 2012

Published by at 12:09 pm under Career,Joining Forces,Legislation

Career portability continues to be a significant challenge for military spouses. Complicated state licensing requirements and the lack of license portability impose significant administrative and financial burdens on professionals that move across state lines.

On February 15th, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden unveiled a joint report from the Department of Defense and Department of the Treasury entitled, “Supporting Our Military Families: Best Practices for Streamlining Occupational Licensing across State Lines”.

The report outlined the best practices for states to better support military spouses serving in professions with state license and certification requirements. The Department of Defense has proposed two concepts that states can use to expedite licensure: licensure by endorsement and temporary/ provisional licensing.

The numbers from the report tell the story:

  •  There are over 612,709 military spouses.
  •  Over 100,000 military spouses are in professions that require licenses or certification for employment.
  •  The top three most common professions for military spouses are, teaching, childcare, and nursing.
  •  Military spouses are ten times more likely than their civilian counterparts to move across state lines.
  •  A RAND study found that nearly two-thirds of military spouses felt that being a military spouse negatively affected their  opportunity to work because of “frequent and disruptive moves” associated with the military lifestyle.
  • In a 2008 DMDC Survey of military spouses – 40% of respondents indicated “easier state-to-state transfer of certification” would have helped them.
  • Nearly 70% of married service members reported their decision to re-enlist was largely or moderately affected by their spouse’s career prospects.

Eleven states have adopted legislation that supports military spouse license portability: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Washington.

Thirteen states have proposed legislation that would positively impact military spouses if signed into law: Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.

The Joining Forces goal?

By 2014, legislation is passed in all 50 states that support license portability for military spouses.

MOAA works closely with the Department of Defense State Liaison office to find and promote solutions at the state level. Our Councils and Chapters have been successful advocates on the state level for military spouse license portability.

What can you do?

    • Share your personal challenges regarding career portability. What obstacles have you faced? Encourage your friends to join our discussion right here at Making it In the MilLife.
    • Stay tuned for updates on this critical legislation. Sign up for our legislative update and for MOAA Spouse E-News.
    • Read how military spouse attorneys are making a difference via The Military Spouse JD Network.


2 responses so far

2 Responses to “First Lady Shines Light on Military Spouse Employment Challenges”

  1. […] the broadcast Learn more about Mrs. Obama’s efforts for military spouse […]

  2. […] want legislation passed in all 50 states that support license portability for military spouses. Read what she has proposed and which states have already passed […]