WASHINGTON, DC -- Today, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee voted to advance legislation to reauthorize United States Coast Guard (USGC) operations through fiscal year 2016. The bill included several priorities requested by Congressman Mike Michaud, including provisions aimed to make it easier for Navy and Coast Guard veterans to obtain civilian employment.
"Coast Guard and Navy veterans with seagoing experience often face significant difficulties transferring their experience into maritime certifications for civilian employment," said Michaud. "I'm pleased that this bill includes a requirement to help ensure our veterans receive credit for the skills and experience they gain while serving in our Armed Forces."
Currently, equivalency standards between military service and civilian maritime certifications are largely lacking and it can take months after leaving the service for veterans to receive their sea service letters, which are required for civilian certifications and employment. Michaud's provisions will require the Coast Guard to take action maximizing the extent to which military service, training, and qualifications are transferrable toward civilian certifications. The Coast Guard would also be required to send sea service letters to veterans within 30 days of a letter being requested.
The bill also includes provisions sought by Michaud to facilitate consultation between the Coast Guard and State Maritime Academies during the development of new maritime certification and training requirements. Some recently implemented regulations have been criticized as burdensome, redundant, or unnecessary for the Academies. Michaud's provisions would give the academies seats on the Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee (MERPAC), ensuring that institutions like Maine Maritime Academy have a voice in the rulemaking process.