SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed the Colorado House Bill 20-1326, “Create Occupational Credential Portability Program Act,” into law at the Colorado State Capitol Building in Denver June 25, 2020.
This legislation allows military spouses with an active occupational license in good standing, who are relocating to Colorado as part of an active duty military assignment, to receive temporary occupational licenses that last three years, at no cost to the military spouses.
“Every time you PCS [permanent change of station], there are so many different things you’re worried about, such as where you’re going to live or where your children will go to school,” said Andrea Hernandez, Airman and Family Readiness Center flight chief. “If you have a career and you’re trying to get back into the work force, having the extra time to get your license makes it much less stressful and removes one more thing from your to-do list.”
Prior to this bill, spouses only had a one-year licensure exemption, so the new legislation allows military spouses more time to find a job in their career field.
After their three-year temporary license has expired, military spouses can either renew their temporary license or apply for a Colorado original license.
Aside from the new legislation, service members and their spouses have the opportunity to save money following permanent changes of station or address through the Department of Defense’s Licensure Reimbursement Program.
The LRP, which went into effect May 17, 2019, allows military spouses to recoup up to $1,000 in reimbursement for re-licensure or recertification when they move to a different state.
“As military spouses, we do so much in assistance of our service members,” said Colleen Rastellini, 50th Security Forces Squadron budget analyst. “We follow them, we support them when they’re home or away. We literally pick up our lives and our families’ lives and move from location to location. This expense is something we have no control over. We have to pay for this if we want to continue working in our fields.”
To qualify, the program requires the following from service members:
- Airman is issued PCS/PCA orders
- Movement of Airman’s dependent is authorized at government’s expense
- Airman PCS/PCA to another state (includes Alaska, Hawaii, Washington D.C. and the U.S. territories)
- Cost must be incurred and paid after the date of the Airman’s PCS/PCA orders are authenticated. (Airman must file a claim within 24 months of the date the orders are authenticated)
Airmen can get information on how to apply to the DoD’s Licensure Reimbursement Program by contacting Melvin Castile, 50th Force Support Squadron community readiness specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the Colorado House Bill 20-1326, visit https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/hb20-1326.
Editor’s note: Marcus Hill contributed to this article.