Congressman Tim Ryan Joins in Introducing Bipartisan Legislation to Connect National Guard and Reservists with In-Demand Skills Training, Employment | Congressman Tim Ryan
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Congressman Tim Ryan Joins in Introducing Bipartisan Legislation to Connect National Guard and Reservists with In-Demand Skills Training, Employment

July 27, 2021
Press Release
Transition for Success Act expands Department of Defense Career Training Programs to National Guard, Reserve Servicemembers

Washington, DC — Congressman Tim Ryan (OH-13) today joined with Congresswoman Cindy Axne (IA-03) and eleven other bipartisan members in introducing legislation to provide in-demand skills training and employment assistance to members of the National Guard and Reserve who are within 180 days of transitioning into civilian life.

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

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 upon departing military service.

 “The Transition for Success Act is a no-brainer,” said Rep. Tim Ryan“This bipartisan and zero-cost bill will allow the National Guard and Reserve to participate in SkillBridge-a highly successful civilian skills training program. We owe our transitioning service members, regardless of component, the opportunity to succeed.” 

Last year, the House passed the Transition for Success Act as part of the National Defense Authorization Act, but the measure was not included in the final version of the legislative package.

The legislation was re-introduced today also with the bipartisan support of Reps. William Timmons (R-SC), Conor Lamb (D-PA), Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), 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 Nicolas (D-GU).

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.

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 bill is also endorsed by nationally respected veterans organizations, including National Guard Association of the U.S. (NGAUS), Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the U.S. (EANGUS), Veterans for Common Sense, and more. 

"As a provider, we have seen a significant increase in interest for in-demand job training over the last year. Expanding Skillbridge to include members of our Guard and Reserve will greatly improve their ability to access this training sooner,” said Rodrigo Levy, Executive Director of Code Platoon“Not only will this bill reduce unemployment for our Guard and Reserve, but it will increase participation in Skillbridge, draw in more training providers and hiring companies, ultimately strengthening Skillbridge overall."

“We are grateful to Rep. Axne for her leadership in introducing the Transition for Success Act, which importantly would expand eligibility for the Skillbridge military-to-civilian employment transition program to all members of the Reserves and National Guard.  We strongly support this commonsense measure to equitably assist all our military service members, and we are encouraged by the strong support for this bill that Rep. Axne has justifiably earned from key veterans and military organizations, businesses and industries, and a growing list of bipartisan supporters in Congress,” said Anthony Hardie, Director and National Chair of Veterans for Common Sense.

“The Utility Workers Union of American (UWUA) is proud to support the Transition for Success Act and its expansion of the DOD Skillbridge program to all members of the National Guard and Reserve. Since the inception of the Utility Workers Military Assistance Program (UMAP) in 2012, the UWUA has recognized the value of placing veterans and active service members through successful training-to-placement programs. America is in critical need of filling skill gaps with a committed, quality workforce. Who better to fill those gaps than those who have honorably worn the uniform and seek to continue in service to their country," said Richard Passarelli, UWUA National Director Veterans Affairs and Chairman of AFL-CIO Union Veterans Workforce Committee.

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.