Axne Bill to Connect National Guard and Reservists with Skills Training Programs Passes Armed Services Committee

Sep 2, 2021

Bipartisan legislation reintroduced by Axne in July was included in annual defense authorization bill

Earlier today, the House Committee on Armed Services voted to advance legislation written by Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) 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 Transition for Success Act, which Rep. Axne reintroduced in July, was included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2022, and was approved by a vote of 57 to 2 at meeting of House Committee on Armed Services that concluded earlier this morning.

“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. Especially in light of these servicemembers’ work helping evacuate allies in harm’s way in Kabul over the past few weeks, 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 glad to see the Armed Services Committee chose to include the commonsense, bipartisan legislation that I wrote to connect those men and women transitioning back to civilian life with skills training programs in this year’s defense policy bill – and look forward to voting for it when it reaches the House floor. Employers want to hire our veterans, and veterans want employment where their skills and service is valued. This legislation helps make that happen.”

Currently, the U.S. Department of Defense offers access to the SkillBridge program to active duty servicemembers 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.

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 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.

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 Nicolas (D-GU).