Mississippi is among the states making it easier for service members and their families to relocate, find work.

Last week, Merit and its partners launched ASPIRE, a national coalition facilitating states’ support for service members and families with interoperable verified digital credentials. The goal is to accelerate the adoption of technology and practices to enable military reciprocity by and between states.

ASPIRE stands for Alliance for States Providing Interoperable REciprocity.

“States across the country have passed license and credential reciprocity legislation supporting military personnel and their spouses who move across state lines,” the release stated. “This has removed barriers and helped veterans and their families continue their careers.”

Merit is the first technology company to facilitate universal license recognition – cutting red tape, speeding up the hiring process, and propelling economic competitiveness.

Mississippi is among the states that have made it easier for services members and their families to relocate.  The “Military Family Freedom Act” went into effect in Mississippi on July 1, 2020. That legislation says Mississippi shall recognize occupational licenses obtained from other states for military members and their families.

“Even with strong legislation, it is difficult, time-consuming, and costly to verify credentials and licenses held by individuals from other states,” Merit noted, adding, “Re-credentialing is also burdensome and expensive to both individuals and states.”

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves was quoted in the release announcing the coalition, expressing the need to eliminate hurdles for those who are keeping America safe.

Governor Tate Reeves

“We need to eliminate as many hurdles as possible for those courageous military families who support the men and women that keep us all safe,” said Reeves. “In Mississippi, we are working hard to establish reciprocity for those who come to our great state as a result of that mission. We also applaud the private sector leaders who are pursuing innovative means to make those moves more frictionless. It is important that we all work together to support those that protect freedom here and abroad!”

The coalition partners for the project include Blue Star Families, National Military Spouse Network, Association of the United States Army, and Women Veterans Interactive.

According to Merit:

  • 14.5% of military spouses move across state lines every year – compared to 1.1% for civilian spouses.
  • 1/3 of military spouses hold a state-issued license for work.
  • 1 in 5 credentialed military spouses face challenges maintaining their licenses.

The group also notes that there is a $94.4 million estimated annual economic cost due to vacant positions.

Merit says 16 states have passed laws that in some form mandate or enable reciprocity for military families possessing a state-issued credential, yet no central platform has up until this point existed to enable interstate recognition and cooperation. The aim of ASPIRE is to make obtaining a license in a state to which military personnel and their families are deployed easier.

To learn more about ASPIRE, Merit, or the need for interoperable reciprocity for military families, click here or watch the video below.