Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation Wednesday that removes barriers to help veterans and their families continue their careers in Michigan, accelerating the state's economic recovery.
"I am proud to sign these bipartisan bills to clear the path for our military service members, veterans, and their dependents to enter a licensed profession," Whitmer said. "This legislation will help us attract and retain talent in Michigan and boosts our broader effort to put Michigan back to work."
Specifically, the legislation:
- Eases the process through which an active duty service member, veteran or their qualifying dependents can obtain an initial health profession or occupational license or certification of registration in a profession or occupation for which they hold a license or registration in another state or country; waives the fee for the initial health profession license or registration; and redefines terms.
- Expands the waiver of an initial license or registration fee for an occupational license to active service members and dependents of veterans and active service members. Under current law, fee waivers were available only to veterans.
- Requires the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) to issue certain occupational licenses to members of the armed forces, veterans and/or their dependents, without examination, as long as the individual is licensed or registered in that occupation in another state or country and certain conditions are met.
"As a veteran, the wife of a veteran and as a mother to a military spouse, I understand firsthand many of the struggles veterans and military members face when they return home and seek employment," said Zaneta Adams, director of the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency. "This is a huge step in the right direction of making Michigan more veteran friendly. I am proud to be a part of a mission to make our state a great place for veterans and their families, to live, work and call home."
Read more about the new legislation at Michigan.gov. And call the MVAA at 1-800-MICH-VET for information on veteran benefits regarding employment, education, health care and quality of life.
Veterans unemployment sees big drop in May
The veterans unemployment rate dropped sharply last month to 4.1 percent, the lowest level it has been since the start of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Military Times reports the May 2021 rate is down from the 5.2 percent estimate for a month earlier and matches the unemployment estimate from March 2020, the first month of partial business closures and layoffs due to coronavirus prevention restrictions.
The hospitality industry — largely shuttered by the pandemic — saw the biggest gains, with more than 292,000 jobs added nationwide last month. Those tourism-related jobs are major employers in several southern and western states, many of which have large concentrations of veterans living there.
Still time to register for Michigan Women Veterans 5K
It's not too late to register for the Michigan Women Veterans 5K Fun Run/Walk! MVAA invites all veterans and their family and friends to participate between Saturday, June 12, and Saturday, June 19. The event will be held virtually this year and is hosted by the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency, Mission: Ambition LLC and the Michigan Women's Commission.
The mission of the Women Veterans 5K Fun Run/Walk is to celebrate women veterans in Michigan, bring attention to women who have served in the military and raise funds for the Veterans Reintegration Center at Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Harrison Township. The weeklong event begins on Women Veterans Day (June 12), nationally recognized as the anniversary of the Women's Armed Services Integration Act, enacted June 12, 1948, which recognized women as permanent, regular members of the armed forces.
Registrants will receive a race T-shirt and challenge coin for their participation but may not receive them by race time. Register now on Eventbrite, or make a donation if you are unable to participate.
Participants are welcome to complete the 5K in the location of their choosing and are encouraged to stay connected by posting photos or videos to Facebook or Twitter along with the hashtag #WomenVeterans5K.
VA, VSOs create expedited decision review process
Through a collaborative effort with VSOs and other representatives, VA launched a Claim Accuracy Request (CAR) pilot program for accredited representatives to request an expeditious review and determination of disability claims decisions.
During the trial period, VA-accredited representatives, agents and attorneys can submit a CAR on behalf of a veteran if the representative alleges an obvious error in fact or law. VA must receive the CAR within 30-calendar days of VA's notification to the claimant.
Read more about the program from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' VAntage Point blog.
New stamp honors Japanese American WWII veterans
The U.S. Postal Service unveiled a new commemorative stamp this week that honors WWII veterans representing the all-Japanese American 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442 Regimental Combat Team from Kauai.
According to the Military Times, the "Go For Broke: Japanese Americans of World War II" stamp honors the second generation Japanese Americans who fought during the war and faced discrimination in the United States.
The stamp, based on a 1944 photograph, features Shiroku "Whitey" Yamamoto from the Big Island, a member of the combat team. It is the first US Postal stamp featuring an Asian American soldier, recognizing the 33,000 Japanese American soldiers who fought in the U.S. Army during the war.
AARP Guide to 10 military museums and historic locations
As we return to a sense of normalcy, you might be thinking about travel plans this summer. Luckily, for veterans and history buffs there's no shortage of places to go and things to do.
AARP has compiled a list of their top 10 key sites to visit. From memorials to military museum and other historic locations, these sites offer visitors thoughtful, moving portrayals of the sacrifices veterans have made throughout American history.