DeWine adviser: Air Force to update Ohio military family support report card

Brianna McKinnon of Dayton testified before members of the Ohio House about a bill she worked on with then-Rep. Rick Perales, R-Beavercreek, in this 2019 photo. The bill granted temporary professional licenses to members of the military and their spouses.
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Brianna McKinnon of Dayton testified before members of the Ohio House about a bill she worked on with then-Rep. Rick Perales, R-Beavercreek, in this 2019 photo. The bill granted temporary professional licenses to members of the military and their spouses.

Ohio officials who asked the Air Force to reconsider how Ohio was graded on a “report card” gauging state support to military families say they’re pleased with how talks went — and they expect the Air Force to update the report card soon.

The Air Force report, titled “Support of Military Families 2021,” graded states by colors. “Green” states are seen as “highly supportive of military families,” and states graded “yellow” — such as Ohio, earlier — are deemed only “moderately supportive.” Red states are regarded as “least supportive.”

ExploreOhio officials push back on Air Force family support ‘report card’

State leaders were concerned about a “yellow” grade Ohio received in the area of professional license reciprocity for military spouses.

Joe Zeis, a retired Air Force colonel and a senior policy adviser to Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on aerospace and defense issues, said recently that the Air Force has sent the state a revised score card, changing the state’s grade from yellow to green.

A spokeswoman for DeWine’s office shared with the Dayton Daily News a PDF copy of the updated report.

License reciprocity recognizes occupational licensing agencies issued by other states. The recognition paves the way for temporary licenses or certificates to members of the military and spouses who are professionally licensed in another jurisdiction and have moved to Ohio for military duty.

Such flexibility makes it easier for those spouses to take up work in their chosen fields in Ohio.

“All of the grades for 2021 on the reciprocity side will now be green,” Zeis said in a recent interview. “And Ohio will be green.”

The state is still working on the Air Force’s assessment of Ohio schools, he added. But he was pleased with the change.

“The reciprocity was obviously what we wanted to discuss,” Zeis said. “That was very, very straightforward.”

While an Air Force report card graded Ohio lower on that issue, a separate, Pentagon scoring report graded Ohio higher. James Rickel, a Department of Defense liaison to the states, told the Dayton Daily News last month that Ohio was “doing a superior job. I think they’re doing a great job” in the area of reciprocity.