• Reed Perkins

Policy: Military Spouse Professional Licensure Reciprocity

While my wife has been serving as active duty Air Force, we've lived in Iowa, Delaware, Mississippi, North Dakota, and Minnesota. That many moves creates a series of challenges, not the least of which is stable employment. I earned my teaching license in Delaware, but transferring those sorts of professional licenses can be difficult.

A 2014 survey from the Military Officers Association of America asked 2,000 active duty female spouses if they felt they were at jobs below their education or experience level, and 90% said yes. Additionally the survey found, "working female military spouses who moved in the last year and have kids at home under age 5 make about $15,000 a year less than civilian women meeting the same description." [1]

A part of the underemployment and wage gap problem is transferability of professional licenses. North Dakota recently took major steps to address that with SB 2306. [2] The goal of the bill was to ensure that if a military veteran or spouse had a license in a different state, the process of getting the same license in North Dakota was simplified. [3] The bill passed unanimously and was signed by the governor on 4/25/19.

An additional component of the bill was the creation of a management study set to be concluded in 2021. Using both the bill and the results of that study as a template, Minnesota needs to follow suit in assisting military spouses and veterans. A bill like this not only makes their lives easier while they are active duty, but is also ensures that they can more readily choose Minnesota as the state they want to move to after separating from the military.

The US Secretaries of the Air Force, Navy, and Army recently released a series of 'quality of life' recommendations for improving conditions for military personnel and their families. [4] This sort of action falls perfectly in line with those recommendations and is the least we can do as a thank you to the families who give so much to help this state and country.

[1] https://www.nd.gov/veterans/news/survey-finds-most-military-spouses-underemployed

[2] https://www.nd.gov/veterans/legislation/senate/sb-2306

[3] https://news.prairiepublic.org/post/professional-licensing-reciprocity-bill-passes-nd-legislature

[4] https://www.grandforksherald.com/news/4573528-license-reciprocity-bill-passes-unanimously-nd-senate

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