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WASHINGTON, DC— U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) today introduced legislation to modernize the U.S. Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (DoL-VETS) program to help servicemembers transition into the civilian workforce.

“It is our duty to honor the sacrifice of our servicemembers and their families by ensuring that programs designed to assist them are effective and meeting their goals,” said Senator Casey. “It should not have taken the Department of Labor nearly two decades to modernize this program. This bill will empower the Department of Labor to continue to support our veterans in navigating the civilian workforce and preparing them for the jobs of today and the future by ensuring unbiased analysis informs future programming updates.”

According to the Department of Labor, more than one in five Iraq and Afghanistan veterans were unemployed last year. Senator Casey’s Transition Assistance Program Audit Act (S.1104) calls for an independent third party audit of the DoL-VETS program every three years to ensure that it is providing services that are up-to-date and useful in matching veterans to employers.

The legislation has been endorsed by the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS), Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) and the Reserve Officers Association (ROA).

“NGAUS strongly supports the Veterans Transition assistance audit bill. It is critical to monitor the strength and efficiency of the transition assistance bridge between our returning veterans and the VA services available to them their families in order to maximize the leveraging of VA assets in the reintegration process,” NGAUS said in a statement of support.

"IAVA strongly supports the TAP Audit Bill, as introduced by Senator Casey. We thank Senator Casey for his commitment and leadership on this issue,” Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of American said. “If passed, this bill will be instrumental in ensuring separating service members are prepared and ready for the civilian workforce. As it stands now, over 200,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are unemployed. And yet the military’s current Transition Assistance Program (TAP) is not mandatory for separating service members, not streamlined across bases, and has been described by our members as ‘archaic’ and ‘a waste of time.’ This is unacceptable. TAP must be relevant and effective – our brave men and women in uniform deserve nothing less. This bill would legalize the auditing of TAP every three years by a non-government agency, thus ensuring the program’s relevancy is keeping up with the demands of the current job market."

“Since the veteran Transition Assistance Program varies from state to state the Reserve Officers Association believes its important and necessary to have a regular audits to ensure that the program becomes more standardized and effective across the nation,” the Reserve Officers Association said.