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One of the obstacles to civilian employment has been the failure to count relevant military experience.

During the last legislative session, San Antonio state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte authored, and the Legislature approved, a measure that requires state agencies to accept a license issued by another jurisdiction for veterans.

But another provision also directed agencies to credit valid military experience toward state licenses and certificates where appropriate - for instance, in truck driving, or using special forces training toward law enforcement certification.

But not every veteran will have the kind of military experience that easily translates into civilian jobs, though we’d argue that discipline, leadership and fidelity to duty can be read into the résumés of most honorably discharged veterans.

This veteran will most need further training and education. There is already the GI Bill and other programs.

And, in Texas, there was earlier College Credit for Heroes legislation, also by Van de Putte, that allows veterans to get credit from military experience toward a degree or certification.

No, jobs are not the total answer to what is a very complex issue. But jobs are key to the transition to civilian life.

Alleviating joblessness in this cohort of veterans will undoubtedly help.

So, employers: Hire a vet.

And Texas and the federal government should explore what more can be done, tackling all else that may be standing between a veteran and a productive life.

This will involve even more outreach by the branches and the VA, and even more convincing - for both active-duty members and veterans - that seeking help is not weakness.

The wars are winding down, but the nation’s responsibilities to its veterans are not - particularly to those veterans who are suffering.

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Houston Chronicle. Jan. 9, 2014.

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