U.S. House Advances Rep. Axne Bill to Connect National Guard and Reservists with Skills Training

September 23, 2021
Press Release
Axne-backed amendments to preserve RC-26 deployments, create new memorials for fallen servicemembers also included in annual defense policy bill

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives advanced the Transition for Success Act, bipartisan legislation written by Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) to provide skills training and employment assistance to members of the National Guard and Reserve, as a part of this year’s defense policy bill.

Currently, the U.S. Department of Defense offers the SkillBridge program to active duty servicemembers transitioning out of their military service. SkillBridge connects departing servicemembers to in-demand skills training and employers who are seeking to hire veterans.

The Transition for Success Act would expand access to the SkillBridge program by allowing all National Guard and Reserve servicemembers to participate in the program and receive civilian certifications upon departing military service.

“Here at home and across the globe, members of the Iowa National Guard and Reservists put their lives on the line alongside their active-duty brothers and sisters. It is only fair that we give Guard and Reserve veterans the same opportunities to succeed after serving our country,” said Rep. Axne. “I’m proud to see my bipartisan legislation passed through the House again this session  – and will continue to work to see this commonsense measure, which provides skills training to our servicemembers at no cost to the taxpayer, signed into law.”

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2022 also includes an amendment cosponsored by Axne to authorize five years of funding for the RC-26 aircraft — a critical part of the Iowa Air National Guard’s anti-trafficking and natural disaster missions.

Additionally, two amendments introduced with the help of Rep. Axne were included in the final bill:

  • The first amendment directs the Secretary of Defense to establish a memorial dedicated to the 13 service members who lost their lives in the attack on the Hamid Karzai International Airport on August 26, 2021, including Cpl. Daegan Page of Red Oak, Iowa.
  • The second amendment authorizes the establishment of a memorial for service members of the Global War on Terrorism on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

This year’s NDAA also authorizes a 2.7 percent pay increase for U.S. servicemembers, makes key investments to modernize military infrastructure, and takes multiple steps to address strategic challenges posed by the government and military of the People’s Republic of China.

Background on the Transition for Success Act

Earlier this month, the House Committee on Armed Services passed Rep. Axne’s bill to provide in-demand skills training and employment assistance to members of National Guard and Reserve who are within 180 days of transitioning into civilian life.

The Department of Defense projects that the legislation would lead to a 30% increase in participation in the SkillBridge program. In 2019, only 8,600 servicemembers utilized the program.

Last year, the House passed the Transition for Success Act, but the measure was not included in the final version of the 2021 NDAA.

The legislation 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 (UWUA).

The legislation was re-introduced in July with the bipartisan support of Reps. William Timmons (R-SC), Conor Lamb (D-PA), Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Mike Bost (R-IL), Andy Kim (D-NJ), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA), Greg Murphy (R-NC), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), Angie Craig (D-MN), and Michael San Nichols (D-GU).