The South Carolina Military Base Task Force (MBTF) is pleased to announce that our state has implemented positive actions to improve the process for military spouses obtaining licenses and certifications. The Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (LLR), which administratively supports more than 40 professional occupational boards, has launched a Military Spouse identification link on their homepage https://www.llr.sc.gov/. Through this link, military spouses will be able to submit their licensing application with priority recognition and processing. Additionally, LLR has designated a staff liaison to work with each licensing applicant to ensure that the process goes smoothly.
The MBTF actively supports these steps. Military spouses endure frequent moves, which often means a new job search and recertification. This places a financial hardship on families, adversely affects morale and distracts our service member’s focus when the spouse is unable to work. Following the Department of Defense lead, South Carolina passed an Amendment to the Professional Licensing statute in 2013 (40-1-630) to allow temporary licensing for military spouses. The language in this Amendment, however, did not require, but rather allowed issuance of such licenses and certifications.
Recognizing that this legislation did not resolve the problems facing military spouses, LLR undertook a review of policies and procedures that will identify and expedite military spouse license applications. LLR also recognizes the positive message that a minor revision to the statute, from “may” to “shall”, would send to our military families and commands. We trust that such a change will be accomplished early in 2019 when the Legislature reconvenes.
President Trump’s May 9, 2018, Executive Order spotlighted the issue of military spouse employment. Also, the Joint Chiefs of Staff sent the President a letter citing spouse employment as one of their top priorities because of the negative impact on retention and recruitment.
“This action by LLR is a much appreciated positive step,” said Bill Bethea, Chairman of the MBTF. “We know that families receiving orders to come to South Carolina, as well as spouses already here, will now be assured that their application to practice their profession will be expeditiously processed.”
One of the missions of the MBTF in supporting our military bases and families is to work diligently to make South Carolina an outstanding duty assignment. When their service concludes we want that family to remain or return as residents of the Palmetto State. Military families spend months and years apart and they move frequently, uprooting from homes, jobs, and schools in order to ensure that we live in freedom. Military spouses deserve our respect and support, as they are the “glue” that holds our military families together.
For more information about the issue of military spouse employment in South Carolina, see the MBTF’s Issue Brief.