As the regional liaison for the Department of Defense covering the Northwest, I do appreciate your editorial regarding the intolerable jobless rate for our youngest veterans (TNT, 5-21). But I would also like your readers to know that our state Legislature and Gov. Chris Gregoire have responded to the fact that help is crucially needed when our veterans, young and old, leave or retire from the military.
Last year, two bills were signed into law by our governor, sponsored by state Sena. Derek Kilmer and then Rep. (now- Sen.) Christine Rolfes to help address the problem. Senate Bill 5307 and House Bill 1418 tell state agencies and regulatory boards to provide occupational licensing help to veterans based on their military education and experience.
These new laws cover a myriad of occupations for which our new veterans may already have all, or almost all, the training and experience they need to be licensed. Those measures are intended to expedite state licensure and employment for up to 7,560 new veterans (2011 data) who moved back to our state annually, calling Washington home, seeking gainful employment.
Washington led the way as one of the first states to do so. While this is only one step, we do have a favorable legislative climate responding as they can to try to alleviate this intolerable situation.