WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Mike Rounds (R-SD) have announced that the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) includes a version of their bipartisan legislation, the Better Access to Technical Training, Learning and Entrepreneurship for Servicemembers Act (BATTLE for Servicemembers Act). These provisions, expected to pass the Senate this week, will better connect servicemembers with resources to secure quality education and good-paying jobs as they transition from military service to civilian life.
“Our men and women in uniform answered the call to serve, and we have a responsibility to make sure they have everything they need to land good-paying jobs when their service is over,” Brown said.
“The men and women who serve in the U.S. military are some of the smartest, brightest and best-trained individuals our country has to offer. I’m pleased our amendment to help them transition into civilian life was included in this year’s NDAA. It is but one way we can show our gratitude for their service,” Rounds added.
The House of Representatives also included a version of the BATTLE Act in its Defense Authorization bill and the Senators will work to ensure this provision is signed into law when the final, combined bill passes later this year.
Brown and Rounds introduced the bill in April. The Senators’ legislation would increase participation in programs that help servicemembers transition to civilian life. Specifically, servicemembers will be able to choose a two day training session on either higher education, technical training, or entrepreneurship. Instead of continuing with an opt-in option, the bill would make the training opt-out to encourage greater participation by servicemembers. According to a 2017 GAO report, only 14 percent of servicemembers completed at least one additional two-day training program after completing the three day required portion of the Transition Assistance Program (TAP).
Currently, TAP training covers a curriculum that includes sessions on veterans’ benefits, financial planning, and post-service employment. The BATTLE for Servicemembers Act will now supplement the current training and better tailor the sessions to fit the needs of servicemembers.
The legislation was supported by Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Student Veterans of America (SVA), Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the Millennial Action Project and the Bipartisan Center Action.