Apprenticeships: Veterans and Military Spouses

Veterans and military spouses are two groups that often face barriers to obtaining and keeping employments. Veterans often have difficulties marketing their skills for the civilian workforce as well as in translating their skills, training, education, and experience into a new field. On the other hand, military spouses have trouble with the frequent movies that are common with military families. With the increasing numbers of jobs that require an occupational licensure, it is important to lower any barriers to licensure that might further hinder these two groups from employment. Occupational licensing regulations that do not account for veterans’ skills and experiences can cause them to pay additional fees for education and training necessary for licensure that they might already have gained in the military. For military spouses, the frequent moves can make it more difficult for them to transfer their professional licenses across state lines, possibly needing to gain additional experience or pay extra fees to practice in a new state. Both instances can discourage these groups from entering the labor market, and states have been working to mitigate these effects.

One of these ways includes increasing access to apprenticeship programs. Apprenticeships “earn while you learn” model can help veterans and military spouses fill these gaps in skills and education while still earning an income. Veterans specifically have many technical skills and professional experiences that make them attractive candidates for employers looking for qualified individuals for their registered apprenticeship programs. The Department of Veterans affairs also offers employers and apprentices possible benefits for hiring veterans, such as wage assistance, subsidies for supplies and training materials, tax credits, and housing allowance.

Many states have passed legislation having to do with recognizing veteran’s skills and experience, as well as with state-approved apprenticeship programs being more accessible to veterans and military spouses. TX S 337, the most recent piece of legislation, aims to facilitate veterans and military spouses in the participation of apprenticeship programs. However, there remain several areas open for improvement and expansion, including increasing housing assistance, access to benefits, and support for participating employers, where policymakers could make an impact. Additionally, Military spouses enjoy noticeable less apprenticeships benefits than veterans, and further assistance is necessary for them to enter the job market, as well as for employers to gain access to this talent pool that covers a wide array for professional fields. While house appropriators have introduced a bill that would require the Pentagon create a program that would increase opportunities in internships and apprenticeships for military spouses, there is still plenty of work left to do to ensure military spouses can fill skills gaps necessary to transfer their professional license.      

Below are a few apprenticeships resources from the federal government that are specifically tailored for veterans and military spouses, as well as legislation passed in states that increase access to apprenticeships for veterans and military spouses:

ResourcePopulationDescriptionLink
Service Members and Veterans | Apprenticeship.govActive Duty, Separating Soon, Veterans, and Veterans with Service-Connected DisabilityThis webpage on apprenticeship.gov details apprenticeship pathways for service members and veterans.Resources for Employers and Sponsors  Resources for Service Members and Veterans
DOL Transition Assistance ProgramMilitary members in transition to civilian life, including military spousesThe Transition Assistance Program (TAP) provides information, tools, and training to ensure service members, and their spouses, are prepared for the next step in civilian life.Transition Assistance Program | U.S. Department of Labor (dol.gov)
U.S. Department of Veterans AffairsVeterans, Military spouses, and dependentsGI Bill training programs can help you pay for books, supplies, and housing while you’re learning a trade or skill through on-the-job training or apprenticeships.On-The-Job Training And Apprenticeships | Veterans Affairs (va.gov)
StateBillDateStatusSummary
AlaskaAK H 3732018FailedRelates to occupational licensing fees for low income workers and military families, relates to licensing of individuals with criminal records, relates to apprenticeship programs, relates to the minimum wage, relates to lobbying, relates to municipal occupational licensing fees and requirements.
CaliforniaCA A 19732016FailedAppropriates funds to the State Department of Education for allocation to school districts for purposes of energy efficiency projects. Provides a district is eligible for funds if it has received specified funding and completes an action in connection to such projects, to include utilizing state-approved apprenticeship programs and ensures access to those programs for certain qualified veterans.
CONNECTICUTCT H 53502010EnactedProvides that a state agency or board that issues licenses or certificates for which professional training, schooling or apprenticeship is required shall provide credits or exemptions from requirements toward licensure or certification for any applicant who received applicable training, schooling or experience while serving as a member of the armed forces.
FloridaFL S 15002013EnactedAs part of the larger FY 2014 budget bill, $750,000 is allocated to the Home Builders Institute’s Pre-Apprenticeship Certificate Training (PACT) program. Funds must be used to provide veterans with career training, vocational training, and job placement services in the home building industry.
ILLINOISIL 122015Executive OrderOrders Reporting on Apprenticeship and Training Opportunities.
LOUISIANALA H 10012016EnactedRelates to apprenticeship agreements, provides for limitations regarding language included in apprenticeship agreements, prohibits any apprenticeship law from invalidating any special provisions in such agreement, apprenticeship program standards, apprenticeship qualifications, or the program operation procedure relative to veterans, minorities, or women.
MAINEME S 6522014FailedProposes to expand and improve the Maine Apprenticeship Program by expanding and improving outreach programs to recruit new employers and educate employers regarding apprenticeship, the occupations that are eligible for apprenticeship and how to participate in or establish an apprenticeship program, proposes to expand and improve outreach programs to educate providers of services unemployed workers, new workers, including recent high school graduates, workers returning to the workforce and veterans.
MARYLANDMD S 9782018EnactedAuthorizes a student or a student’s parent or guardian to release the student’s Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery score to certain apprenticeship programs and employers, authorizes the State Department of Education to adopt regulations to require the award of credit toward high school graduation requirements for time spent in apprenticeship programs, authorizes a Workforce Development Sequence Scholarship to be used for costs to participate in an apprenticeship program.
MD H 12162018EnactedAuthorizes a student or a student’s parent or guardian to release the student’s Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery score to apprenticeship programs and employers, authorizes the State Department of Education to adopt regulations to require the award of credit toward high school graduation requirements for time spent in apprenticeship programs, authorizes a Workforce Development Sequence Scholarship to be used for costs to participate in an apprenticeship program
MICHIGANMI H 41342016EnactedAmends the Boiler Act, clarifies the definition of approved apprenticeship program, makes changes concerning requirements for a license to inspect, install, or repair boilers, and for registration as a boiler operator or stationary engineer for persons with military experience, and rules for alteration and servicing of boilers.
MINNESOTAMN S 24882012FailedRelates to veterans, expands the purposes for the Minnesota GI Bill program to include apprenticeships and on-the-job training.
MONTANAMT H 3082017EnactedCreates an income tax credit program for employers of registered apprentices, including an increased credit for employing veterans, provides that the credits be taken against individual income tax and corporate income tax liabilities, provides rulemaking authority.
MT H 5512015FailedProvides for an apprenticeship tax credit, with an increased amount for veterans, relates to labor and employment, relates to professions and occupations generally, relates to state revenue, relates to taxation, relates to taxation of corporations, relates to taxation of individual income.
NEW JERSEYNJ A 20142013FailedEstablishes Helmets to Hardhats pilot program in New Jersey Turnpike Authority that connects National Guard, Reserve and transitioning active-duty military personnel with jobs in the construction industry, requires that highway construction projects be awarded to contractors who employ workers from an apprenticeship trade under the program for a specified percentage of total labor hours, requires the pay to be at the prevailing wage for the trade or craft involved.
NEW YORKNY S 80032020PendingAmends the Labor Law, relates to project labor agreement feasibility studies and apprenticeship agreements, the study shall look to see if there will be a negative impact on opportunities for minority, women or service-disabled veteran owned businesses, such feasibility studies shall be provided to the public for review and comment.
OREGONOR H 40982018EnactedDirects the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to develop written material regarding apprenticeship opportunities, requires the Department to provide material to certain agencies, county Veterans’ service officers and Veterans’ organizations for distribution, directs the Department to provide annual training to county Veterans’ service officers and Veterans’ organizations regarding apprenticeship programs, and federal and state education benefits.
OR S 15412012FailedAllows person who obtained plumbing education, training, and experience while on active duty with armed forces to have education, training and experience evaluated for credit toward fulfillment of approved plumbing apprenticeship, applies to plumbing apprenticeships entered into on or after January 1, 2013, declares emergency, effective on passage.
OR HJM 112011FailedUrges Congress to allow apprenticeship training and on-the-job training as benefit in Post 9/11 Government Issue Bill.
RHODE ISLANDRI S 25392014EnactedAllows persons honorably discharged from military service or transferred to reserve status or the National Guard after active military service to use his or her acquired classroom and workplace training to fulfill the requirements for apprenticeship and journey persons for the skilled trades of electricians, blasters, plumbers and irrigators, hoisting engineers and mechanical trades, provides persons meeting any requirements through military service remain subject to licensing fees and examinations.
RI H 79272014EnactedAllows any person honorably discharged from military service or transferred to reserve status or the National Guard after active military service to use his or her acquired classroom and workplace training to fulfill the requirements for apprenticeship or journey persons for electricians, blasters, plumbers, hoisting engineers and mechanical trades, clarifies that persons meeting any requirements through military service remain subject to licensing fees and examinations for the desired trade.
TEXASTX S 3372021EnactedRelates to the award of grants by the State Workforce Commission to facilitate the participation of certain veterans and military personnel in apprenticeship training programs.
TX H 22542013EnactedRequires state agencies to adopt rules to provide credit towards occupational licenses which require an apprenticeship in fields relevant to a service member’s training and experience in a military occupational specialty.
WASHINGTONWA H 19222014FailedRequires the Washington state Department of Transportation to expend $1,900,000 or 0.5 percent of federal highway Surface Transportation program capital funds, whichever is less, for apprenticeship preparation, apprenticeship, and support services, adds recruitment of women, veterans, and persons of color to participate in the apprenticeship program at the State Department of Transportation to the list of services that the State Department of Transportation must provide.
WA H 19222013FailedRequires the Washington state Department of Transportation to expend $1,900,000 or 0.5 percent of federal highway Surface Transportation program capital funds, whichever is less, for apprenticeship preparation, apprenticeship, and support services, adds recruitment of women, veterans, and persons of color to participate in the apprenticeship program at the State Department of Transportation to the list of services that the State Department of Transportation must provide.
WA S 63572010EnactedRequires the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges to develop policies for awarding academic credit for learning from work and military experience, military law enforcement training, career college training, internships, externships, and apprenticeships.

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