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Governor Baker Signs Executive Order to Support Military Families Transferring to Massachusetts

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BOSTON – Governor Charlie Baker renewed the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to support military families transferring to Massachusetts military installations. The Executive Order signed by Governor Baker directs the Division of Professional Licensure (DPL) to improve license portability for military personnel and their spouses so that they can continue their civilian careers and provide for their families without interruption. 
 
“Through this Executive Order, our goal is to make the process of transferring professional licenses simpler and more expedient for military personnel and their spouses arriving in Massachusetts,” said Governor Baker. “I want to thank the Department of Defense and the Air Force for their leadership on this important issue and I look forward to finding new ways to help the members of the Armed Forces across all branches and their families as they start the next chapter of their lives in the Commonwealth.”
 
“This Order helps us support arriving military families and allows them to more easily immerse themselves in their new communities at our military installations across the Commonwealth,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “In recognition of the sacrifices that members of our Armed Forces and their family members already make, reducing or eliminating barriers that could hinder gainful employment and household stability is one important way we can help make moving to a new state a little easier for them.”
 
The Executive Order directs DPL to investigate opportunities to participate in one or more interstate compacts, a preferred vehicle for simplifying and improving licensing for professionals moving between states, while also ensuring the public continues to be served by highly qualified practitioners. DPL will also ensure that each covered board has procedures to expedite and afford priority to the licensing of military personnel and spouses. Each board will be encouraged to process applications within 30 days, and track data on how long that process takes for military personnel and families.
 
DPL will focus on the occupations, and their related boards, identified as priorities by the United States Air Force in a recent assessment: 

  • Physical Therapists
  • Accountants 
  • Engineers 
  • Psychologists 
  • Barbers and Cosmetologists
 
DPL will consult with the Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force (MASS-TF), Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy, Veterans’ Affairs Secretary Cheryl Lussier Poppe, and liaisons representing the branches of the United States military and the Massachusetts National Guard. DPL will report on the implementation of this Executive Order, and present recommendations, by July 1, 2021.
 
The Administration has previously undertaken efforts to improve license portability for military families who hold out-of-state licenses in Teaching and Nursing professions, including participation in an interstate agreement and filing legislation to participate in an interstate compact.
 
“Thank you to Governor Baker and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for improving the ability of military spouses to find employment in their career field,” said General Charles Q. Brown, Jr., Chief of Staff, United States Air Force. “Licensure portability ranks as a top issue for military families due to the barriers to employment that often arise with different licensing requirements between states. This is critical for all the military services to be able to recruit and retain Service members and we greatly appreciate Massachusetts’ partnership in that effort.”  
 
“The soldiers and airmen of the Massachusetts National Guard, as well as myself as the Adjutant General, are grateful to the Baker-Polito Administration for their continued demonstration of support in securing long-term relevant missions and force structure for both the Massachusetts National Guard, and our active duty and reserve counterparts here in the Commonwealth," said Gary W. Keefe, Major General, United States Air Force, Massachusetts National Guard, Adjutant General. "Innovative actions like facilitating Licensure Reciprocity for military spouses, along with the commitment of significant capital investments, like the recent $9.2 million for a new Taxiway and Entry Gate at Barnes Air National Guard Base, maintain the Commonwealth’s position as a great home for continued and future military missions for all branches of our Armed Forces.”
 
The Massachusetts Legislature has previously enacted laws [Valor Act I (2012) and Valor Act II (2014)] intended to help military families returning from active duty, or relocating to Massachusetts from another state, including provisions that deal specifically with professional and occupational licensing. 
 
Massachusetts is home to six military installations with more than $13.2 billion in total economic activity and support for more than 57,600 jobs, including Barnes Air National Guard Base, Fort Devens, Hanscom Air Force Base, Joint Base Cape Cod, the U.S. Army's Natick Soldier Systems Center, and Westover Air Reserve Base. The MASS-TF, as a nation leading defense community support entity, has leveraged the strength of its federal, state, and local leadership to commit over $46 million to these military installations and defense communities, including over $32 million under the 2014 Military Bond Bill authorization.

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