A White House campaign to help military families has hit a new milestone: All 50 states have eased the requirements for military spouses whose careers require a professional license.
Michelle Obama said just three states accepted licenses from other states when she and Vice-President Joe Biden's wife, Jill, launched a broader initiative in 2011 to help military families.
Military spouses seek new employment every one to three years, on average, and more often than civilians, based on when their enlisted husbands or wives are deployed to new posts in a new state, the White House said Saturday in a fact sheet. About one-third of military spouses have careers that require a professional license, such as nursing or teaching.
Each move often required these spouses to spend time and money getting re-licensed in their new home state for jobs they already qualified for.
Mrs. Obama and Jill Biden asked the nation's governors in 2011 to act to streamline state licensing requirements for the military community. Nearly half of the states had addressed the issue by 2012, the first lady told the Military Times newspaper in an interview released Saturday. The administration then issued a report to help officials in the remaining states, she said.
Despite the new milestone, Mrs. Obama said states can do even more on the issue, including having employers come up with creative solutions to offering temporary or expedited licenses to spouses.
The first lady and Jill Biden marked this year's fifth anniversary of their Joining Forces initiative by announcing that more than 1.2 million veterans and military spouses had been hired.
"Our military is an all-volunteer force, and we need to show our young people that serving in the military allows you to have a great career, both in and out of uniform," she told the newspaper. "So we need even more employers to step up and hire our veterans, and we need companies to provide more flexible work environments so that military spouses who are moving every few years can keep moving up the career ladder."