From her perch on the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., scored a win this week as her proposal to help active duty personnel leaving the military enter the civilian workforce was included in the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which was signed into law on Monday.
The NDAA includes a proposal from Murphy, U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Mich., and U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla. Back in February, Murphy unveiled the “Better Access to Technical Training, Learning, and Entrepreneurship (BATTLE) for Servicemembers Act” which, she and the cosponsors insist, “will better prepare departing servicemembers to attend college, learn a technical trade, or start a small business.” Murphy was the chief sponsor while Bergman and Curbelo cosponsored the legislation.
As part of the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) currently offered by the Defense Department, servicemembers moving into the civilian workforce can take two day workshops on higher education, skills training and entrepreneurship offered by various branches of the federal government. However, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), less than 15 percent of eligible servicemembers took part in the workshops in Fiscal Year 2016. Murphy’s proposal makes departing servicemembers participate in the workshops though they will be able to opt out of it if they so choose.
Our nation’s men and women in uniform are some of the most skilled, best trained, and hardest working individuals, yet many of them struggle with their transition to civilian life,” said Murphy on Monday after President Donald Trump signed the NDAA into law. “I’m incredibly proud that my bipartisan initiative to improve the training these departing servicemembers receive is now law. Whether these servicemembers want to attend school, learn a trade, or start a small business—this law will empower them to succeed.”
“We owe it to our servicemembers, and their families, to better help them transition back to the civilian job market,” Curbelo said when the bill was launched. “We have a variety of programs available, though too many of these brave men and women are not aware they exist. While much work must still be done to help ensure they have successful and productive post-military careers, this legislation is a positive step forward in achieving those goals.”