Congressman Gus M. Bilriakis (R-Fla.) joined Congresswoman Duckworth, Congressman Hunter and Congressman Takano as a co-sponsor of the bi-partisan Troop Talent Act of 2013. This important piece of legislation facilitates service members' transition from active duty to the civilian workforce and seeks to reduce the veterans' unemployment rate. A companion bill was also recently introduced by Senator Kaine (D-VA) and Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) in the U.S. Senate.
"One of the challenges our service members face is how to match their professional military skills and technical training with civilian jobs," said Congressman Bilirakis. "As our veterans make the transition from the battlefield to civilian life, we must continue to make them a top priority and ensuring they are able to compete in today's technologically evolving economy is paramount."
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for recent Iraq and Afghanistan veterans was 9.2 percent in March 2013, higher than the 7.6 percent national average. The number of veterans receiving unemployment benefits has also doubled since 2002.
The Troop Talent Act of 2013 improves the alignment of specialty skills acquired in the military with civilian certifications or licenses, expands existing efforts to meet current workforce demands and implements quality assurance measures to ensure credentials translate into the private sector. It has already gained support from many veterans groups, including Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Student Veterans of America, and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.