Two Ohio lawmakers say they want to make it easier for active duty service members and military spouses to obtain a occupational license in their career field when they move to the Buckeye State. (Photo by Logan Mock-Bunting/Getty Images)

Ohio moving to make it easier for military spouses to get job credentials

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By Barrie Barber, DaytonDailyNews.com

Two Ohio lawmakers say they want to make it easier for active-duty service members and military spouses to obtain an occupational license in their career field when they move to the Buckeye State.

The legislation would expedite the process to obtain the certification, lawmakers say, a process that depending on the credentials can take up to two years.

“By expediting the process military spouses will be able to contribute to our economy more quickly and support their families,” said state Rep. Derek Merrin, R-Monclova Twp., whose district includes the Toledo Air National Guard Base.

The bill recognizes other states’ professional licensing requirements if it meets or exceeds Ohio’s standards. The legislation would grant a “license by endorsement” to the service member or spouse if another state’s requirements were lower than Ohio’s. The person would have to meet Ohio’s licensing standards within 12 months and work within the scope of their career field permitted in their prior state.

“I think it’s an important way we can support our military and try to help them stay working in Ohio,” said state Rep. Theresa Gavarone, R-Bowling Green, who co-sponsored the legislation. “It’s just a way of knowing the difficulties of moving frequently.”

A hearing was scheduled this week on the legislation, lawmakers said.

Today, the state requires military spouses to get a temporary license while they wait for one of Ohio’s licensing boards to decide if they should receive a permanent license.

The Buckeye Institute, a free-market think tank in Columbus, explored the issue late last year and called on lawmakers to make it easier to obtain an occupational license.

“Unfortunately, Ohio is one of the worst states when it comes to making it simple for working military spouses and family members to join the state’s workforce,” a Buckeye Institute policy paper issued in November reported. “Some state licensing regulations, for instance, impose additional education requirements that may take more than one or two years to complete — an impractical burden for spouses who may spend only a few years in the Buckeye State.”

The Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University reported 73 percent of military spouses require a renewal or re-issuance of an occupational license after transferring to a new state, the Buckeye Institute policy paper said.

n a 2013 review, the Institute for Veterans and Military Families found 90 percent of female spouses of active-duty service members reported they were underemployed, or had more education and experience than the jobs they had required.

By Barrie Barber, DaytonDailyNews.com