Minnesota Passes Legislation That Supports Military Families

Joining Forces applauds Minnesota for recently passing legislation to support veterans and military families – and for becoming the 48th state to join the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children as a full member.  

In May, Governor Mark Dayton signed the “Joining Forces for Jobs” Act, which helps military families by making it easier for veterans and military spouses to gain occupational licensure in Minnesota. When military spouses who hold professional certifications in other states move to Minnesota, they will be able to get temporary professional licenses while pursuing their certifications from Minnesota. This will help reduce unemployment or underemployment of military spouses in Minnesota due to the bureaucratic hurdles involved with moving from out of state.

The Minnesota State Legislature also enacted major updates to its education policy, which includes provisions that will make a positive impact in the lives of military families. Teachers with a current license from another state will now be able to obtain a temporary license. Legislation regarding license portability is critical because 35% of military spouses have careers that require professional licenses or certifications, and these spouses are 10 times more likely to move across state lines than their civilian counterparts.  

Minnesota also enacted the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children, which was established in response to the challenges associated with the mobile military lifestyle. It addresses key school transition issues encountered by military families in the areas of eligibility, enrollment, placement, and graduation.

The Compact helps military families in multiple ways, including providing families options for enrolling their children in a new school; helping students retain their placement in course and educational programs such as AP or ESOL; and ensuring that students covered under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act receive the same services in their new state. Students will now also be able to self-identify on school registration forms as being a member of a military family. 

Passage of all of these legislative measures is good news for military families in Minnesota, and we encourage all Minnesotan military families to spread the word!

Commander Cara LaPointe, U.S. Navy, is a White House Fellow in the Office of the First Lady.

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