The Sergeant Major of the Army, Daniel A. Dailey stressed the need for credentialing Soldiers in a recent meeting with Congress.
On Capitol Hill, February 26, Dailey met with lawmakers of the House Appropriations Committee, subcommittee on military construction, veterans affairs and related agencies, to discuss quality of life issues. The subject of credentialing Soldiers was discussed at length.
Daily said as the Army draws down to 490,000 Soldiers, many departing Soldiers will be looking for civilian careers. While the Army has invested heavily to ensure they are successful in their military careers, he would like to see their skills transfer to a civilian occupation.
Credentialing is a way to certify that a Soldier has the necessary skills to do a job; be it truck driver, electrician, or medical specialist. Once a military member has taken a test or proven their skills they gain a credential, or certification, that they are qualified to do a certain job. This is very useful in transferring the skills gained in the military to a civilian occupation.
Lawmakers were interested in what could be done to make that credentialing process easier for Soldiers - as credentialing requirements vary from state to state, and also cost money. "This is something the Army has invested heavily in over the past several years," Dailey told lawmakers. "We have made great strides...and we have had great help through Congress."
While the Army has credentialed over 30,000 Soldiers, he suggested more could be done, by possibly making Tuition Assistance funds available to help Soldiers gain credentials that have a cost associated with them.
"We have to open our aperture on things like tuition assistance, and allow our young men and women who deserve those credentials -- the great skills that they hone while they are Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen and Marines can be added upon with these credentials, and they will be more valued ... when they become Soldiers for Life in the future." Dailey said such an investment would be small. Credentials, he said, cost anywhere from $150 to $500. "There is no reason we can't invest in them," he said. "We have proven that investing in them now is a great investment for us in the future."