Dedicate a full-time staff member to help veterans get work certifications

"Terry will have a full-time staff member dedicated to creating automatic trade and professional certifications for returning veterans.



Platform (archived version), May 6, 2013


Subjects: Jobs, Veterans


Post may not be filled

While running for governor, Terry McAuliffe said returning veterans shouldn't have to take classes to demonstrate job skills they acquired in the military.

"As governor, Terry will have a full-time staff member dedicated to creating automatic trade and professional certifications for returning veterans," McAuliffe's campaign wrote in a platform that was released on May 6, 2013. "This high-level staff person will work with the Department of Defense, lawmakers and licensure bodies to help ensure that our veterans have an easy and sensible transition into the workforce."

McAuliffe explained in a news release that the new staffer would hold a deputy secretary-level position called the Virginia Veterans Job Credentialing Officer.

That new official has not yet been hired, said Brian Coy, a McAuliffe spokesman. The governor is still considering filling the post, Coy said, but he added there's no guarantee McAuliffe will create the position.

During its first year, Coy said the McAuliffe administration has instead taken an interagency approach to helping veterans obtain state-issued work certificates and licences.

That process involves "linking the (Virginia) Department of Veterans Services, the Virginia Employment Commission and the Virginia Community College System together to basically use best practices that are presently resulting in more veterans getting greater credit for on-the-job experience when it comes to the credentialing process and getting it faster."

At a Veterans Day ceremony last week in Richmond, McAuliffe said he'll seek a bill in the 2015 General Assembly that would make it easier for vets to get credit for job training they received in the military.

"Next year, in about 60 days, I will introduce legislation that we need to evaluate -- and I will award -- credit for prior military training in obtaining workforce credentials so that veterans can get to work faster," McAuliffe said. "Our veterans have served. They are disciplined. They are highly-motivated. We have spent millions on their training. When they come back, we should move them quickly through the credentialing process and right into a job."

Coy said the bill -- still being drafted -- would change various state laws to make it easier for veterans to get job credentials.

"If you're a nurse in the army or a field medic, you've obviously had a lot of training," Coy said. "I think a lot of veterans are finding that a lot of the training they've received doesn't line up with the state's criteria."

McAuliffe is vowing to expand the Virginia Values Veterans initiative. Started in 2012 under former Gov. Bob McDonnell, the program encourages employers to train and hire veterans.

In August, McAuliffe signed an executive order that encouraged businesses to take a "Patriot Pledge"  to commit to hiring veterans.The order also calls for state officials to devise an overall plan to help veterans return to private sector employment.

The bottom line: McAuliffe is not committed to keeping his campaign pledge to create a high level post dedicated to clearing paths for veterans to get workforce credentials. It's among several options he's exploring to help veterans get jobs. His top priority is to seek legislation this winter that will streamline the process for veterans to get certification for trade skills they've learned in the military.

We'll let you know if McAuliffe creates that new post. For now, we rate his promise "Stalled."


Terry McAuliffe for Governor, "Keeping Virginia competitive in a global economy," May 6, 2013.

Terry McAuliffe for Governor, "Standing up for Virginia's veterans and military families," accessed Nov. 12, 2014.

Interview with Brian Coy, spokesman for Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Nov. 13, 2014.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe's comments at Veterans Day ceremony at the Virginia War Memorial, Nov. 11, 2014.

Richmond Times-Dispatch, "McAuliffe promises to end homelessness for veterans," Nov. 11, 2014.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe, "Secretary Harvey and Secretary Hazel visit VA medical centers, discuss Commonwealth's role in ensuring access to critical services to Virginia veterans," July 14, 2014.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe "Governor McAuliffe unveils major workforce development initiative," Aug. 13, 2014.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe, "Governor McAuliffe announces Virginia Values Veterans (V3) program reaches major milestone," Aug. 28, 2014.

Old Town Alexandria Patch, "McAuliffe discusses improving veteran employment," Aug. 12, 2013.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Executive Order 23, Aug. 13, 2014.