CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin ceremonially signed a bill into law at the state Capitol Wednesday that will make it easier for military spouses to get back into the workforce.
Tomblin put pen to paper to sign House Bill 4151 or the Licensure Bill.
“This will make it much easier to transition especially if [the job] requires a special license or certification,” said the governor.
It’s spouses like Becky Poling who will benefit. She and her husband Major Tom Poling have spent most of his military career moving from one state to the next. First they were stationed in Alaska, then Missouri, California and now West Virginia.
Poling is a licensed physical therapist but found every time the family made a move she had to start all over with her career.
“Every time we would get to a new place there’s that huge transition period. It took two to three months just to get the licensures,” she explained.
That meant making phone calls, waiting for transcripts to be faxed or mailed and paying hundreds of dollars in fees to get it all done. Poling said it was frustrating, at times, with all the other things she was dealing with during a move.
“Getting into a new house, finding a new neighborhood, dealing with the kids and the husband and the move and then still trying to get my job on line and to the point where I can work,” she said.
Tomblin noted the goal of the Licensure Bill is to cut through the red tape, get military spouses back to work as soon as possible. They can receive temporary licenses, waive fees and continuing education for six months while the family settles in.
“This is just one more way that we can offer some additional assistance not only to the members of the military, but especially their spouses who are the backbone and support behind their military members,” according to Tomblin.
First Lady Joanne Tomblin and the West Virginia Commission on Military Spousal Licensure were on hand for the bill signing. It take effect June 2.