Skoufis, Rozic Announce Passage of Diplomas for Veterans Bill

Bill would expand program that awards high school diplomas for veterans

Albany, NY – State Senator James Skoufis (D-Hudson Valley) and Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D,WF-Fresh Meadows) announced the passage of legislation (A4654/S1660) they introduced that would expand an existing education program called Operation Recognition that allows high school diplomas to be awarded to veterans. The bill passed both the State Senate and the Assembly with bipartisan support.

Senator James Skoufis said, “Expanding the Operation Recognition program to create more opportunities for our veterans to get their high school diplomas is the right thing to do and the American thing to do. These individuals sacrificed their education to serve our country and we have a duty to recognize that honorable service. I’m proud to work with Assemblywoman Rozic and look forward to the Governor signing this bill into law.”

“It is imperative that veterans be given every opportunity to become eligible for college or training programs or to seek employment,” said Assemblywoman Nily Rozic. “The expansion of this important program would honor their service while providing a pathway towards economic self-sufficiency.”

Kristen L. Rouse, U.S. Army Veteran and Founding Director of NYC Veterans Alliance said: “Service members and veterans have answered our nation's call to service, and too often at the cost of their civilian education and career. We applaud the leadership of Assembly Member Rozic and Senator Skoufis and their work to ensure our most recent generations of veterans are duly recognized for their service by awarding them a high school diploma. When our nation's young men and women step up to serve on our behalf, we must do all we can to ensure they do not fall behind as a result of that service.”

Ryan Graham, Commander, Queens County Council of Veterans of Foreign Wars said: “Education is the hallmark of expanding an individual’s professional track, but there have been those who have served their nation while putting their education on hold. The passage of Bill A4654 by Assemblywoman Nily Rozic, Senator Skoufis and the New York State Legislature are testament to the recognition and service of those who have served in various conflicts, during various generations. Not only does this legislation recognize military service, but it also transfers credit and training earned while serving, allowing those with a high school diploma to further future educational interests. The Queens County Council applauds the tremendous work that

Assemblywoman Rozic and Senator Skoufis have and continue to do for those whom have served their nation.”

Under current law, Operation Recognition recognizes the dedication and sacrifice of WWII, Korea, and Vietnam veterans who joined military service prior to high school graduation by awarding them a high school diploma. The applicant must be a resident of New York State and have received an honorable discharge.

This new legislation seeks to also include all veterans who enlisted in military service after the end of the Vietnam War – such as those deployed in Desert Storm, Iraq, and Afghanistan – to avail themselves of this opportunity. It has been proven that continuing education and job placement after military service is crucial to healthy reintegration into civilian society. New York State is home to 838,000 veterans.