It’s Time to Support Our Military Families

Georgians know that we face an ongoing shortage of licensed professionals in many career fields. There is a way to add licensed workers to Georgia’s workforce and help our military families at the same time. I wrote House Bill 880 to ease the regulatory burden on our military spouses and give Georgia business owners in military communities instant relief.

Military spouses are a special group of people. Roughly every two years, they pack up their entire house and family and move to a new state, or even to a new country. This means they and their families must adapt to new schools, new doctors, new dentists, new veterinarians, new hairdressers, new friends, new jobs, and new routines. As a military spouse, I packed up and moved four times in the first seven years of marriage. It’s not an easy lifestyle, but military spouses are proud to support their service members and to do their part to keep our country safe.

One of the biggest challenges military spouses in Georgia face is in the workplace. Nationally, military spouse unemployment is measured at 21%, and 90% of spouses report that their service member’s duty negatively impacts their career progress. Military spouses sacrifice a lot, and we should not ask them to sacrifice their profession, their earnings, and the pride they feel at being a real and contributing part of their new community.

Unfortunately, Georgia is falling behind other states like Oklahoma and Utah in our support of military spouses. HB 880 will allow spouses to use an existing license from another state to get employment in Georgia without delay. Quite simply, it will allow them to hit the ground running and ease their transition into their new community. An employer will be given the freedom to check the spouse’s professional license themselves instead of waiting months for a board to meet and make a decision. This is a win-win for every military community. Spouses will get the jobs they need and want, employers will get the workers they so desperately require, and communities will benefit by having more engaged citizens.

Georgia’s nine military installations represent a $20 billion economic impact for our state, and we have the 5th largest military population in the country. Economically speaking, we are at risk without the passage of this bill; however, we also have a moral responsibility to support our war fighters and their families. They do their duty without reservation. It’s time we do ours.

Leave a Reply