Bill would help veterans capitalize on military skills

They fought for our freedom. They shouldn’t have to fight for jobs.
Too often, veterans of the various recent conflicts abroad return home to discover the skills they needed in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere aren’t appreciated by potential employers, and that they don’t have a way of explaining just how prepared their experiences make them for all kinds of jobs.
Fortunately, a first-term U.S. Senator from Virginia and a Congresswoman from Illinois are jointly sponsoring a measure, one that has significant bipartisan support, to alleviate the situation.
“The Troop Talent Act of 2013 improves the alignment of specialty skills acquired in the military with civilian certifications or licenses required for post-service employment,” according to a recent press release put out by the office of U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth . “The legislation will also enable Military Tuition Assistance (MTA) and the Post 9-11 GI Bill to be used on courses and programs that guarantee a credential or industry certification after successful completion.”
The statement goes on to announce that 66 members of the House of Representatives and 10 members of the Senate have signed on as cosponsors of the legislation.
“Veterans who return from Iraq, Afghanistan, and any other place where they wore one of the nation’s military uniforms should get more help converting their specialized military training into a civilian career, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown said (Oct. 24) in Toledo,” according to an item in The Blade newspaper.
Brown is among the cosponsors of the measure, which was introduced by U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, a former governor of the state.
“If you’re a medic in the military you ought to have a leg up on getting EMT certification,” Sen. Brown was quoted as saying. “If you’re a driver in the military you ought to be able to get a commercial driver’s license easier and you should be able to get a job when you come back to Lucas County. The purpose of this bill is to connect better than we’re doing. If you’re an electrician in Iraq you have a leg up on electricians’ apprentice programs.”
“None of us can feel good if we hear the unemployment stats that our veterans are facing in a tough economy,” Kaine said in the statement from Rep. Duckworth’s office. “As we draw down out of Afghanistan and as more transition from active to veteran life this challenge could compound if we don’t tackle it. It’s something that we owe to those who serve. It’s also good for our country and economy. Military training is an enormous public investment in skills. We should take advantage of those skills and talent that is there among our folks who are transitioning out of active duty for the benefit of our entire society.”

Long military deployments can weigh heavily on children

People who have volunteered to serve their country are going on increasingly long deployments abroad, and that is having a profound impact back home.

English: BAHRAIN (Aug. 26, 2009) Lt. Miles Hic...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In the homes of these men and women of the military.
“A leading pediatricians’ group is highlighting the plight of children in military families in a new report,” according to an article on the website of HealthyDay News. “Tours of duty can last up to 18 months, and studies have shown that one in four children of active-duty service members has symptoms of depression. One in three children experiences excessive worry, and half of children have trouble sleeping, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics report.
These problems can be even worse when there are other psychological issues in the family …”
The HealthyDay News item was based on an article that appeared in the June issue of the journal Pediatrics.
The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry also highlighted the special mental health concerns of military families.
“A family that loses the active presence of a parent through separation faces significant challenges and stress,” a report on the academy’s website states. “During the parent’s deployment, family members may feel isolated, unsupported and anxious. They may also experience financial stress. Media coverage of events can also increase concern.
“While most families and children manage successfully, it is important for parents to be aware of signs of stress and possibly serious problems. The responses of children to stress of separation are determined by their individual makeup and developmental age.”
“By understanding the military family and the stressful experiences of parental wartime deployment, all pediatricians, both active duty and civilian, and other health care providers can be the front line in caring for U.S. military children and their families,” Dr. Benjamin Siegel, co-author of the journal report, said in an American Academy of Pediatrics news release.
“In the past 10 years, more than 2 million children in the U.S. have experienced the emotional and stressful event of being separated from a loved one deployed for active duty,” the other co-author, Dr. Beth Ellen Davis, said in the same press release. “Most children cope and adapt quite well, but all children experience a heightened sense of fear and worry during a parent’s deployment. It’s important for pediatricians caring for these families to be aware of their family’s situation so they can guide them appropriately.”

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