State Representatives Anne Gonzales (R-Westerville) and Wes Retherford (R-Hamilton) today applauded the Ohio House’s passage of House Bill 98, legislation that strives to assist Ohio’s newest generation of veterans by helping them find employment upon returning home from deployment.

House Bill 98 would allow state licensing agencies to consider a veteran’s skill set when they apply for a license, as well as grant special extensions to members of the Reserve and National Guard whose licenses expired while they were mobilized.

“This is a unique opportunity to meet two great needs in our state,” said Rep. Gonzales. “We are able to help fill a void in Ohio’s workforce development and serve our men and women in uniform when they separate service.”

“With thousands of service members returning home every year, we need to do our part in Ohio to ensure that the transition to civilian life is as easy as possible,” said Rep. Retherford. “Giving veterans the tools to secure well-paid employment is a small part we can play. House Bill 98 will allow men and women who trained and practiced a trade in the service to qualify for state licensing exams. This kind of common-sense legislation is beneficial for our returning service members, and will continue to show the country that Ohio is serious about being a leader in job growth.”

In addition to granting extensions for license renewals, House Bill 98 also will allow boards to grant extensions for members of the Reserve and National Guard for meeting their continuing education requirements.

Ohio has the sixth-largest veteran population in the United States. As of last year, there were an estimated 900,000 veterans living in the state of Ohio, and of that number, nearly 650,000 have served in or in support of a theater of combat.

House Bill 98 passed unanimously and will now be sent to the Ohio Senate.

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