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Queens Chronicle

City clears a hurdle for vets’ employment

Wills bill counts military job training

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Posted: Thursday, April 11, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 10:46 am, Thu Apr 18, 2013.

A bill written by Councilman Ruben Wills (D-Jamaica) and signed into law by Mayor Bloomberg will allow veterans to count some job training from the military toward applications for city licenses or certifications.

Job classifications include electricians, riggers, site safety officers and managers, master plumbers, high pressure boiler operating engineers, blasting and special effects operators and others.

The bill was one of three veterans jobs bills signed by Bloomberg on April 2, two of which dealt with easing the requirements for qualified veterans.

“It is a disgrace that our veterans face difficulty finding employment upon their return to civilian life,” Wills said in a statement issued by his office. “I believe it is time to recognize the job skills they developed in the military and acknowledge that those same highly-developed skills can be used to transition into long-term employment and careers.”

Wills said many employers fail to understand that former military personnel often have received the same instruction in their fields as their civilian counterparts, “and in some cases more advanced training.”

Bloomberg, in a statement issued from City Hall, said current laws allow Korean- and Vietnam-era veterans to apply military experience toward licensing requirements, provided they had a year’s experience prior to serving in the military.

Wills’ bill, 1019, and companion bill 1014 extend the breaks, and allow for veterans of current and future service to take advantage of the benefits.

Bloomberg said the heads of agencies issuing the licenses will have the discretion to determine if individual applicants require additional experience.

The third bill signed by Bloomberg requires the Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs to include resources including links to federal and state job banks and others on its own website, as well as those operated by the city’s Small Business Services Office.

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