Legislation would allow veterans of recent and future conflicts to apply their service towards certain license or certification requirements

Council action would eliminate the need to unnecessarily repeat experience requirements in order to earn a license for a number of occupations

New York, NY- Today, City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Veterans Committee Chair Mathieu Eugene, Council Member Sara M. González and Council Member Ruben Wills announced a package of legislation to help veterans quickly transition back to civilian employment. The legislation would allow veterans to apply relevant military experience during their time of service to count towards designated license or certification requirements in New York City, and would ensure that veterans of the Iraq, Afghanistan and Gulf War conflicts, as well as future conflicts, pursuing specific licenses for at least one year prior to military service can serve their country without completely interrupting their progress. The city’s licensed trade industry provides thousands of jobs, and these bills would help expedite the licensing process by eliminating the need for veterans to unnecessarily repeat experience requirements in order to earn a license and continue their military trade.

“If you’ve had the experience of working as a special electrician in a war zone, you are more than qualified to be an electrician in New York City,” said Speaker Quinn. “The same goes for many trades that our men and women in uniform learn while serving our country. This legislation will help to ensure that our veterans have every opportunity to use the skills they’ve developed in order to establish meaningful civilian careers. Creating a smoother, quicker path to stable employment is just one small way to not only thank veterans, but also to show them how much we respect their experience and expertise.”

Current City policy allows recent conflict veterans to apply service toward some licenses or certificates issued by the New York City Fire Department. The Council seeks to expand this policy by permitting veterans to use their service skills to obtain licensure for occupations such as master and special electricians, low voltage installers, oil-burning equipment installers, high pressure boiler operating engineers, master plumbers, special riggers, site safety officers, master fire suppression piping contractors and blasting and special effects operators. By expanding this policy, many veterans who would otherwise be disqualified from obtaining these licenses will be able to apply the skills they acquired while serving on bases through the country and overseas.

“Our veterans have served our country bravely, risking their lives to keep our nation safe and secure. In return for their incredible sacrifices, it is only appropriate that they are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve. It is important that we ask ourselves, as a City, what can we do to give back? I think the answer is simple; resources and tools to transition back into civilian life, stability, and a means to support themselves and their families. I believe that this legislation will finally allow us to begin to aggressively address the high unemployment rates among veterans by getting these qualified individuals into the civilian workforce. I would like to thank Speaker Christine Quinn, Council Member Gonzalez, Council Member Wills, and all of the veteran advocates for making this possible,” said Council Member Eugene.

“This legislation will make it possible for returning veterans to obtain valuable job certifications based on their military experience. This is a real bill that will create change and benefit the lives of our under-employed veterans who interrupted their lives to protect our country and our values. Offering this credit is a gesture of appreciation to acknowledge the sacrifices made by the men and women serving our nation. Like many families in this City, mine has a proud history of service, with my father, husband and brother-in-law being veterans of past conflicts. I deeply understand the commitment and support we owe to the members of our armed forces when they return home,” said Council Member González.

“It is our duty to honor our veterans and our responsibility to assist them in their return to civilian life where possible,” said Council Member Wills. “By passing this bill we are increasing employment opportunities among our veterans, by applying their skills and experiences gained while in service towards certain license or certification requirements.”

“In theory, veterans are trained and certified in skills that directly translate to the civilian workforce. Unfortunately, a medic in Iraq can’t necessarily become an EMT without a new license back at home,” said Paul Rieckhoff, IAVA Founder and CEO. “By recognizing the value of a veterans’ training while in service, New York City is leading the country in ensuring that no veterans’ skills or training is lost when they leave service. This is a critical investment in the new greatest generation that will benefit veterans and the city alike.”

Additionally, the Council will introduce legislation requiring the Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs (MOVA) to help veterans connect military skills to various City jobs and ensure that these jobs are included in the federal veterans job bank. This bill would also ensure that employment and career resources provided by the City, State and federal government are all available on MOVA’s website, including military occupation translators to help veterans identify career paths that relate to their military experience.