Submission For The Record of The Honorable Tammy Duckworth (IL-08)
Thank you to Chairman Miller, Subcommittee Chairman Flores, and Subcommittee Ranking Member Takano, and the House Veterans Affairs Committee Professional Staff for considering the following legislation. I greatly appreciate the time and energy you have all afforded the Troop Talent Act.
This piece of legislation is one of my first efforts in the Congress to help both Service Members and Veterans transition into successful careers in the private sector and strengthen our economy. From my 21 years in the Army, and my time at both the Illinois and Federal Departments of Veterans Affairs, I know that we still have a long way to go make sure that our Service Members and Veterans have the tools they need to transition into successful careers in the private sector. The unemployment rate for those who have served in the military since 2001 is nearly 10%. That number is simply unacceptable. Our Service Members and Veterans deserve every opportunity to achieve the American Dream that they fought for, and nobody knows that better than you all on the Economic Opportunity Subcommittee.
The bipartisan Troop Talent Act, which Representative Bilirakis , Takano, and a number of colleagues on this committee have cosponsored, will allow our servicemen and women to better transition into positions in the private sector. It will add to the current Transition GPS program and ask the military to, early and often, connect Service Members’ Military Occupational Specialties with corresponding civilian credentials and possible future careers. It allows Service Members to use Military Tuition Assistance funding for courses that will earn them a credential while furthering their effectiveness while they are on active duty. It would also allow Veterans to use their Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits for credentialing and certification courses as well.
Our Service Members and Veterans guarantee the quality of their work with their life and civilian employers are in need of that level of dedication and expertise. The Troop Talent Act will enable those who serve to make the transition to the private sector more easily and help our businesses thrive at the same time.
The passage of the Troop Talent Act will be a victory for businesses, the military and our communities. Thank you all for your consideration of this legislation and for your leadership and service.