A state commission tasked with helping military veterans find jobs officially started work this week.
The Commission to Streamline Veterans’ Licensing and Certification held its first meeting at the State House, and co-chair state Rep. Jared Golden, a Democrat from Lewiston, says it faces a difficult job, with many licensing boards willing to substitute education for experience but not the other way around.
“Work to address those barriers to bringing military skills out into the civilian workforce on a case-by-case basis. That’s really what it takes to be successful,” he says. “‘Yes, you have those skills, but you don’t have a degree. You can’t do this.’ ‘But why? I’ve been doing this for 20 years very efficiently.’ ‘Well, because you don’t have a degree in your hand.’“
Golden says some states allow a former Army medic or Navy corpsman with years of experience to take a licensing test without a degree. Maine does not, and he says that is something the state should revisit.