Provided by Congressman Jodey Arrington
WASHINGTON – Congressman Jodey Arrington (TX-19), Chairman of the Veterans' Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity, introduced the Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer William "Bill" Mulder (Ret.) Transition Improvement Act of 2018, legislation named in memory of Arrington's friend, a Plainview High School graduate and decorated Navy Seal.
"Our government spends billions of dollars preparing citizens to be warriors, but invests only a fraction of that helping those soldiers transition to civilian life. If we do a better job equipping our servicemen and women on the front end of their transition, we can reduce the number of veterans who struggle with unemployment, homelessness, and suicide. An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of intervention," said Arrington. "Bill was a true American hero who served our country with honor and distinction. Like many of our troops, Bill's greatest fight wasn't on the battlefield, it was the struggle that often ensues from the mental, emotional, and physical wear and tear of military service.
"On top of that, people who spend their entire careers pursuing excellence as a warrior often wrestle with life back in the civilian world. The Transition Assistance Program can help prepare folks like Bill for the challenges and opportunities of transitioning to civilian life, to create a new sense of purpose and to equip them with the tools to be successful in the marketplace. We owe it to Bill and all of our veterans to make this transition from active-duty to civilian life more seamless and successful, which I believe this legislation does."
The bill would make improvements to the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) and the overall transition process for servicemembers to include more of a focus on career opportunities and entrepreneurship. This bill would represent the largest reorganization of TAP since 2011. Specifically, the bill would restructure TAP to require servicemembers to choose specific career-oriented tracks that best suit their post-service plans and would require that servicemembers take part in one-on-one counseling a year prior to separation to evaluate which transition pathway suits them best.
It would also authorize a five-year pilot program that would provide matching grant funds to community providers that offer wraparound transition services to veterans and transitioning servicemembers. Finally, the bill would require a third-party entity to conduct an independent assessment of the TAP curriculum and require a separate longitudinal study on the efficacy of TAP and long-term outcomes for veterans. Click here for more information. Read the bill here.