WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–A coalition of non-profit and private sector organizations including Blue Star Families, The National Military Spouse Network, The Association of the United States Army, Women Veterans Interactive Foundation, Credential Engine, and Merit International, Inc., announced this week at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. the formation of an alliance to accelerate the adoption of technology and practices to enable military reciprocity by and between states. Named ASPIRE (Alliance for States Providing Interoperable REciprocity), this coalition will facilitate states’ support for service members and families with interoperable verified digital credentials.
More than one in five Americans works in an industry that requires an occupational license. For the spouses of service members however, that figure jumps to one in three. Through no fault of their own, these spouses are uniquely disenfranchised by laws restricting out-of-state recognition of such licenses. That’s because nearly 15% of military spouses move across state lines in any given year, compared to just 1.1% of civilian spouses.
16 states have passed laws that in some form mandate or enable reciprocity for military families possessing a state-issued credential – yet no central platform has up until this point existed to enable interstate recognition and cooperation. The aim of ASPIRE is to make obtaining a license in a state to which military personnel and their families are deployed easier. The stakes are high; When reciprocity is not available, many spouses of servicemembers are forced to abandon their profession, secure a less desirable and underpaying job, or receive unemployment assistance.