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Carlos Curbelo Backs Reforming Transition Assistance Program for Armed Forces Members

October 8, 2018 - 10:00am
Carlos Curbelo
Carlos Curbelo

Last week, U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., announced he was backing a proposal to reform the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) for members of the Armed Forces looking to move into the civilian workforce. 

Curbelo announced that he signing up as a cosponsor of U.S. Rep. Jacky Rosen’s, D-Nev., to  “The IMPROVE Transition for Servicemembers Act.” Other cosponsors are U.S. Rep. Walter Jones, R-NC, and U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, R-Wisc., 

“We are thankful every day to our brave servicemembers who have dedicated their lives to protect our nation,” Curbelo said on Thursday. “As they begin to transition away from their military careers, we must ensure they have the necessary resources for productive and prosperous civilian careers. I am proud to join my colleagues in supporting this bipartisan, bicameral 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. 

Rosen’s bill would make the workshop mandatory, ensure there is a full time TAP employee for every 250 transitioning members at an installation, start the TAP process earlier, ensure the federal government works closer with state veteran services on the matter, track progress of TAP participants and get their feedback.

The bill was sent to the U.S. House Armed Services and Veterans Affairs Committees last week. 

This is not the only time Curbelo backed efforts to reform TAP. Earlier this year, Curbelo backed U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy’s, D-Fla., proposal to help active duty personnel leaving the military enter the civilian workforce which was included in the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which was signed into law. . 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 Curbelo cosponsored the legislation. 

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 made departing servicemembers participate in the workshops though they will be able to opt out of it if they so choose.  

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