New Study Analyzes Military Job Training of Connecticut Veterans

The Connecticut Veterans Legal Center (CVLC) and the Yale Law School Veterans Legal Services Clinic released a new report today. Titled Denying Credit: The Failure to Transition Troops to Civilian Employment, the report is believed to be the first analysis of the Military Occupational Specialty (MOS), or military job classifications, of the veteran residents of any state. The report’s conclusions may be vital to state veteran employment initiatives, and highlight steps other states could take to better understand the military training of their residents and better tailor their own state employment programs to local veteran populations.

“After twelve years of war, which now coincide with deep cuts to the military, stakeholders deserve hard numbers that will allow them to create effective strategies for reintegrating veterans,” said Margaret Middleton, Co-Founder and Executive Director of CVLC and Clinical Visiting Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School. “It’s much easier to find a veteran a job when you know exactly what that veteran is trained and able to do.”

“We live in an age of ‘big data,’ but until now Connecticut policymakers did not have meaningful information on the training and experience of the state’s veterans,” said Rob Cuthbert, an intern with the Yale Law School Veterans Legal Services Clinic and co-author of the report. “This report will aid lawmakers and employers in tailoring programs, and it also provides a national model for targeting state licensing and credentialing efforts.”

The report, based on data obtained from the Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs, identifies the most common MOSes for veterans residing in Connecticut who separated from the Air Force, Army, Marines, or Navy since September 11, 2001, known collectively as “Gulf War II veterans.” Denying Credit finds that the military training of many Connecticut veterans could potentially satisfy state requirements for occupational and professional licenses. The report also finds that veterans in many of the largest MOS groups in Connecticut face some combination of steep labor market competition, low wages, and anemic growth in the fields for which their military training has prepared them.

To date, neither the U.S. Department of Defense nor the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has made the MOS data of the more than 2.5 million Gulf War II veterans available to policymakers or the public. Consequently, employers and lawmakers in Connecticut and elsewhere do not know what skills and training are most common to the state’s veterans, or how to target their efforts to grant licenses to these veterans based on their military training or experience. CVLC’s report analyzes the MOSes of Connecticut veterans to provide the nation’s first detailed look at the military job training of its Gulf War II veterans. Key findings include:

• 29 of the 32 most common MOSes held by Gulf War II veterans appear to align with Connecticut state licenses. The average annual salary for these licensed positions is $55,861, and the average number of job openings in the state is 135 per licensed career field. However, there are not enough related civilian job openings in Connecticut to benefit every Gulf War II veteran who qualifies for a license.

• Many Gulf War II veterans in the largest MOS groups may require alternative careers and/or additional training to compete and thrive in the Connecticut job market.

• Connecticut Gulf War II veterans from medical fields are a small minority of the total veteran population but have the highest potential compensation, with an average salary of $58,686 based on occupations that require licenses. These veterans may be among the greatest beneficiaries of licensing and credentialing reform.

The report is also available at:

Headquartered in West Haven, Connecticut, the Connecticut Veterans Legal Center is the first legal services organization in the country to integrate legal help for veterans into VA mental health services. CVLC’s mission is to help veterans recovering from homelessness and mental illness overcome legal barriers to housing, healthcare, and income.

The report was prepared for CVLC by Robert Cuthbert Jr., James Eimers ’14, Sam Kyung-Gun Lim ’13, and Seth A. Nadler, student interns in the Veterans Legal Services Clinic at Yale Law School, under the supervision of Professor Michael Wishnie ’93.

Established in 2010, the Veterans Legal Services Clinic at Yale Law School has represented Connecticut veterans in litigation before administrative agencies and courts, on benefits, discharge upgrade, immigration, and pardon matters. In addition, students represent local and national organizations in non-litigation matters relating to the legal needs of veterans, including regulatory and legislative reform efforts, media advocacy, strategic planning, and other matters.