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Opening Statement of Hon. Bruce L. Braley, Ranking Democratic Member, Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity

Many of our brave servicemen and women in this country are returning in need of healthcare, employment, housing, educational, and other services.  They, like all our veterans across the country, deserve our best efforts in providing the resources to ensure a seamless transition from military service to civilian life.

The Subcommittee has explored various options to accommodate servicemembers and encourage them to attend the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) workshop as well as their spouses, and how to modernize TAP.  Some proposed changes have included: expanding evening classes and adding online resources to accommodate servicemembers and their spouses’ working schedules.  Others had brought up the prospect of making the program mandatory for separating servicemembers and expanding existing Montgomery G.I. Bill benefits.  I was happy to learn that the three responsible Departments that make TAP possible, DOD, VA, and DOL were also aware of the criticism surrounding TAP and they have been working to modernize this important workshop.

Today, we will reexamine TAP and the progress that has been made by the Departments.  I hope we also have the opportunity to learn how the program is assisting our veterans in a seamless transition into employment and their communities.

As many of you know, the Transition Assistance Program was established to meet the needs of separating servicemembers during their period of readjustment into civilian life.  The program offers job-search assistance and related services such as workshops on resume writing, interview process, labor market overviews, personal appraisal, and VA benefits.  The program seeks to provide veterans with the skills and services needed to transition into the workforce. 

Additionally, the VetSuccess on Campus program plays a similar role TAP.  It helps individuals as they transition from being servicemembers to students.  This seamless transition is critical to help student veteran’s succeed in school.  Most importantly, I believe, it is helping veterans feel welcome and accepted in campuses across the country.  The age difference between a non veteran and a veteran in the classroom can vary, for veterans this age difference can feel as if they can’t relate or can be intimidating at times.  VetSuccess on Campus helps veterans network with other veterans.  Furthermore, the VetSuccess on Campus can ease a veteran’s transition by helping them apply for their education benefits.

This hearing today will inform us of all the initiatives being implemented to help servicemember and veterans succeed.