Eases Requirements For Trade Licenses
City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Veterans Committee Chair Mathieu Eugene, and City Council Members Sara M. González and Ruben Wills announced a package of legislation to help veterans quickly transition back to civilian employment.
The legislation, if enacted, 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. Additionally, it would ensure that Iraq, Afghanistan and GulfWar veterans, as well as veterans of 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 according to a City Council press release, 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 an electrician in a war zone, you’re more than qualified to be an electrician in New York City,” said 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 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, it was noted, many veterans who would otherwise be disqualified from obtaining these licenses will be able to apply the skills they acquired while serving on bases throughout the country and overseas.
“It is our duty to honor our veterans and our responsibility to assist them in their return to civilian life where possible,” said 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, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (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 introduced 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 require employment and career resources provided by the city, state and federal government be made available on MOVA’s website, including military occupation translators to help veterans identify career paths that relate to their experience.