Assemblymember Salas Expands Job Opportunities for Military Spouses
SACRAMENTO –Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) introduced Assembly Bill (AB) 2549, which will expedite the process of relicensing certain jobs for military spouses. This legislation will expand the job opportunities that military spouses qualify for and ease the burdens placed on families serving our nation.
“We must do more for military spouses, who are six times more likely to be unemployed, find a job so that they can put food on the table,” said Assemblymember Salas. “Transferring professional licenses that spouses have earned should be a seamless process to ensure our military families can thrive in California.”
According to the Department of Defense, 68 percent of married service members reported that their spouse’s ability to maintain a career affects their decision to remain in the military. These families are at a unique disadvantage when it comes to finding employment because they are frequently moving. In fact, the annual percent of the military spouse population that moves to different states is 14.5 percent – compared to 1.1 percent for civilian spouses.
Approximately 35 percent of military spouses work in a profession that requires a license in order to be employed. Although a spouse may be licensed for a job in one state, when they move to California, the process of transferring a license or applying for a new license can be burdensome and take an unnecessarily long amount time before a license is ultimately issued.
“Licensure issues affecting career portability for the spouses of military service members has been a priority for the Department for several years,” said Kelli May Douglas, Southwest Regional Liaison for the Department of Defense - State Liaison Office. “As our military members and their families move from state to state, the ability for military spouses to transfer their licenses in order to obtain employment upon a new military assignment is very important to their career sustainability and their families’ financial stability. Policies to enhance existing licensure provisions for military spouses, such as is provided within AB 2549, serve to relieve one of the many stressors of frequent military moves. The need for such policies in California is underscored by the fact that the number of active duty military spouses in California is the highest in the U.S., at over 62,000 (11% of all active duty military spouses).”
Jobs such as accountants, auditors, and dental assistants rank among the top occupations for military spouses, yet these licenses are not currently included in the expedited licensing program in California. AB 2549 would address this issue by adding these professions to the licensing program to enable military spouses to more quickly gain employment in a number of important jobs in California.
Assemblymember Salas represents part of the City of Bakersfield, the cities of Arvin, Hanford, Corcoran, Delano, Lemoore, McFarland, Shafter, Wasco, and the communities of Armona, Avenal, Buttonwillow, Home Garden, Kettleman City, Lamont, Lost Hills, Stratford and Weedpatch.