Rep. Axne Bill to Connect National Guard and Reserve Members with Civilian Employment Program Added to National Defense Authorization Bill
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to amend the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to include Rep. Cindy Axne’s (IA-03) bipartisan legislation that will expand transitional skills training and employment assistance for members of the National Guard and reserves.
The Transition for Success Act, which was introduced last week by Rep. Axne and her colleagues William Timmons (SC-04), Mike Bost (IL-12), Anthony Brindisi (NY-22), Greg Murphy (NC-03), and Max Rose (NY-11), would open eligibility for the U.S. Department of Defense’s SkillBridge program to include National Guard and Reserve servicemembers who are within 180 days of transition into civilian life.
“Surveys have shown that only one of every four veterans has a civilian job when they leave their service, and that it can take months for our servicemembers to find employment after their discharge. And now with the dual crises of pandemic and recession, that statistic is going to be even more difficult to improve,” said Rep. Axne. “I’m pleased that my commonsense legislation to expand a successful Defense Department program to connect members of our National Guard and reserves across our country with critical skills training and employment connections for their return to civilian life was included.”
Currently, the U.S. Department of Defense offers active duty servicemembers transitioning out of their military service access to the SkillBridge program. SkillBridge connects departing servicemembers to in-demand skills training and prospective employers who are ready to hire.
The Department of Defense projects that the legislation would lead to a 30% increase in participation in the SkillBridge program. Last year, only 8,600 servicemembers utilized the program.
A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center last year found that only one in four veterans said they had a civilian job lined up after they left the military.
Among post-9/11 veterans, 43% reported that it took them more than six months after leaving their service to find a job, with 6% of those reporting that they did not find a job at all.
The Transition for Success Act has the endorsement of key employers that partner with the SkillBridge program, including Microsoft, Amazon, the National Association of Homebuilders, and the Utility Workers Union of America.
The bill is also backed by the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS), Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States (EANGUS), Reserve Officers Assocation (ROA), Fleet Reserve Association (FRA), Military Veterans Advocacy (MVA), Code Platoon, Veterans for Common Sense, and Troops into Transportation.