Governor Kelly Calls for States to Join National Coalition to Help Military Spouses Obtain Occupational Licenses Across State Lines

~~Kansas is the First State in the Country to Join Coalition~~

WASHINGTON, D.C. – At the National Governors Association conference in Washington, D.C., this past weekend, Governor Laura Kelly announced that Kansas is the first state in the nation to join the Alliance for States Providing Interoperable Reciprocity (ASPIRE). Governor Kelly called on other states to join the coalition, which advocates for the acceleration of military reciprocity by and between states, easing the process of obtaining a license in a state to which military personnel and their families are deployed.

“As the daughter of a Purple Heart recipient, I know military personnel and their spouses are exactly the type of people we need in Kansas to fill the jobs we’ve created in recent years,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “That’s why Kansas has become the first state in the nation to join this coalition to continue knocking down the barriers military families face to getting and keeping a job.”

Right now, one in three spouses of service members works in an industry that requires an occupational license. Military spouses are uniquely disenfranchised by laws restricting out-of-state recognition of such licenses because nearly 15% of military spouses move across state lines in any given year, compared to just over 1% of civilian spouses. These laws often result in military spouses leaving the workforce during an already tight labor market.

ASPIRE encourages states to join a digitalized system that would allow states to upload their reciprocity agreements so military families can know if the state they are moving to will accept their licensing.

Along with joining ASPIRE, Governor Kelly has taken action here in Kansas. In 2021, she signed bipartisan House Bill 2066, which expedites the issuance of occupational credentials to military servicemembers and military spouses seeking to establish residency in Kansas. The legislation makes it easier for military spouses to transition into the Kansas workforce and spur new economic development. Governor Kelly also hosted a roundtable last October to discuss ways to promote workforce participation for Kansas military families.

Video of the announcement is available here.