Senator Robert Singer and Senator Troy Singleton’s legislation to waive occupational licensing fees for active-duty military spouses has unanimously passed New Jersey Senate.
“The transient nature of military life creates many career-building obstacles for active-duty spouses,” said Singer (R-30). “Licensing costs alone can be a barrier to job entry, especially for spouses who are repeatedly relocated between duty stations across the nation and across the world. Waiving fees for occupational licensure will help spouses secure meaningful employment and make life a little easier for military families in New Jersey.”
The bipartisan bill, S-61, would ensure that neither a professional nor occupational board would change a license application fee to a spouse or dependent of an active-duty military service member. The legislation also requires that the boards include a box on the application that would allow an applicant to signify that they are a military spouse or family dependent.
“It is not uncommon for military families to move around the country as part of their service. That upheaval may make it difficult for spouses to find employment if professional licenses are needed to perform the job in a new state,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington). “The Joint Base is one of the biggest bases in the region, housing countless numbers of military families. This proposal would ultimately make it easier for spouses to find work and provide for their families.”
The unemployment rate for military spouses is 24%, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Comparatively, the current national unemployment rate is 3.6%, a 50-year low. 92% of military spouses are women.
There are seven active military installations in New Jersey, employing more than 73,000 both on and off base. Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, the nation’s only tri-service base, is New Jersey’s largest military installation and the state’s second-largest employer.
“While Americans are proud to honor our veterans, we should also take a moment to thank military families for their support of our country,” added Singer. “With military spouses facing such a high rate of unemployment, this legislation is a small way to help them gain valuable work experience while being stationed in the Garden State.”