New Legislation Aims to Keep Military Spouses Employed

By Lea Sutton
|  Sunday, Apr 7, 2013  |  Updated 8:29 AM PDT
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Legislation is in the works that would help military spouses find work in their field, while going through the lengthy process of getting certified in California.

Legislation is in the works that would help military spouses find work in their field, while going through the lengthy process of getting certified in California.

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There's no question that our service members make sacrifices to serve in the military, but it takes a lot of sacrifice to be a military spouse too.

For one, military spouses often have to put their service member’s job ahead of their own.

Now, a San Diego legislator is trying to ease the burden when it comes to military spouses finding employment.

There are over 70,000 military spouses in the state of California, and nationwide more than a quarter are unemployed.

This is partly because they have to move as frequently as every two years, and many fields require professional licenses, usually state certifications.

Those professional licenses don't immediately transfer from state to state, such as those who work in nursing, cosmetology, and a number of other vocations.

In California, active duty military spouses are eligible to get expedited licenses if they already have one in another state.

However, that process can take months and may require additional coursework and exams.

Assemblyman Brian Maienschein is working to ease this burden on military spouses with legislation that would allow 18 month provisional licenses while they work through the California licensing process.

His bill, AB 186, covers every profession that requires a license except teachers and lawyers. Those are more specialized when it comes to differences in practicing from state to state.

The legislation could impact military spouses like Vida Donnette, a Pacific Beach resident who’s currently trying to find a job.

Donnette is a registered nurse. Though her field has many openings, a year and a half ago she became a Navy wife and followed her husband from her home in New York to San Diego, leaving her license in New York.

“It’s just an endless sacrifice, and at the same time we tend to lose our self-identity along the way,” said Donnette.

Due to the time it takes to get an expedited license in California, Donnette says she’s now considering drastic measures, just so she can lock down some work.

"I'm considering the fact of just moving back to New York and stay there and have a long distance relationship with my husband," she said.

Donnette is hopeful for this new legislation for military spouses and says it would do more than just help her become employed – it would also empower her.

“I can start working again and I could be able to do what I love to do and be passionate about it,” she added.
 


 

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