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Illinois Now One of Ten “Most Supportive” States for Military Members and Their Families

Greater St. Louis, Inc. Calls Kern’s Leadership Critical to Passage of Licensure Portability

March 16, 2022
Illinois Named Top Ten State for Military Members and Families

The Department of the Air Force has named the state of Illinois as one of only ten states in the country to be assessed as “Most Supportive” of military members and their families with respect to license portability. The recognition stems from the enactment of state legislation for which Greater St. Louis, Inc. advocated that lowers workforce barriers for military members and their spouses stationed at Scott Air Force Base and other installations across Illinois.

“The leadership of St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern was critical to passage of this legislation,” said Greater St. Louis, Inc. CEO Jason Hall. “We were proud to work with Chairman Kern, his team, and the entire southwestern Illinois delegation to solve Illinois’ restrictive licensure portability laws, a solution that will also help Scott Air Force Base attract new missions.”

Background

In 2020, St. Clair County submitted a proposal to become the home of the United States Space Command Headquarters. The County was informed they would not be a finalist in the competition, with Illinois’ restrictive licensure portability laws cited as a key reason. According to the U.S. Department of the Air Force web page on military spouse state licensure portability:

Finding and sustaining employment is a key stressor of frequent relocations. Moving across state lines creates barriers to career longevity, and those obstacles are heightened by state and career-specific professional license regulations. Licensure portability refers to the ability to transfer a professional license from one state or U.S. jurisdiction to another so that a professional can continue their occupation after relocation. To be eligible for employment, military spouses in professions that require a license must navigate laws, policies, and regulations unique to each state.

To address this issue and help Scott Air Force Base attract new missions to the area, in the 2021 legislative session Greater St. Louis, Inc. worked with Chairman Kern, his team, and the southwestern Illinois legislative delegation to pass HB 2776, which addressed licensure portability, lowering workforce barriers for military members and their spouses.

“Scott Air Force Base was specifically called out in the STL 2030 Jobs Plan as one of the most important assets for the St. Louis region,” said Adam Kazda, Greater St. Louis, Inc. director of government relations. “Greater St. Louis, Inc. will continue to champion pro-growth public policy in Illinois and advocate for causes that benefit members of the military and their families at Scott Air Force Base.”