“The best way to help a veteran,” says Gov. Pat Quinn, “is to make sure we have a j-o-b for that veteran coming home.”
With that, the governor signed a trio of laws encouraging the employment of Illinois veterans. The new laws, all effective Jan. 1, make it easier for veterans to join the Illinois State Police, obtain a commercial driver's license, and apply to become an emergency medical technician.
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Some veterans would get an exemption from the higher education requirement in applying for the Illinois State Police. Experience driving military vehicles would count toward getting a CDL, and field experience and training would count toward applying to become an EMT.
“Our recent veterans really have some very unique experiences,” says Erica Borggren, director of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs. “They have been fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan what is commonly refer to the graduate level of warfare,” requiring diplomacy skills as well. “The ability to decide in a second between, as they say, a hand grenade and a handshake.”