Bill to help former military medics transition into Maine workforce becomes law

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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - A bill to help former military medics transition into the workforce is now law in Maine.

It gives qualified veterans with healthcare training the ability to utilize their military credentials when seeking civilian employment.

About 400 military veterans in Maine have obtained valuable skills, training, and experience in healthcare while serving their country.

A bill signed into law on March 4th creates a targeted state program to match veterans with employers to assist the vets in continuing their education and training to ultimately secure positions in local hospitals and assisted living facilities.

"In other words, it allows the men and women who serve as medics in the armed forces to use their military training as civilians when they enter the workforce," said Rep. Brad Farrin, (R) the bill's sponsor.

"What's happened for years is that military veterans come back with healthcare experience, education, and it's undervalued. They're basically told it's going to take two or three years before you can get this license or that license, and they're frustrated, so we lose them to other industries," said Auta Main, Veterans Program Employment Manager, Dept. of Labor.

Under the law, which received strong bipartisan support, qualified veterans will receive individualized assistance when connecting one-on-one with the Department of Labor's program staff to facilitate the transition. Medically-trained vets will be able to perform certain medical services under proper supervision.

"We estimate there's about 400 vacancies in these nursing positions and we're hoping we get 40-45. This program is going to start in the fall with a new fiscal year through the Department of Labor and we're really excited about it because I think this will really help fill that hole that we have," said Farrin.

The program will be focused on veterans with recent military training, within two years prior to enrolling.

"It's really a shame to have to have them come back and do redundant training when they get out of the service. This really recognizes a lot of the high quality training they've received in the military and really smooths the process out for them transitioning into civilian life," said David Richmond, Deputy Director of the Maine Bureau of Veterans Services.