This week the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the Veterans Opportunity to Work Act with more than 400 votes. The bill known as the VOW Act aims to help veterans of all eras by creating opportunities for job training and employment.
But what’s in it?
Like many bills, the VOW Act has a cool name and supporters claim that it will do great things. The truth is, we veterans have become a bit jaded when it comes to catchy titles and headlines claiming government solutions. So I asked the House VA Committee staff to break it down into simple terms.
Here are some of the highlights of what the bill would mean to veterans and servicemembers in real terms:
- Transitioning servicemembers will have better support through the Transition Assistance Program (TAP), including updated job seeking tools.
- Transitioning servicemembers will find it easier to earn certification and licensures by creating nationally standardized credentialing and licensing programs. These programs currently vary from state to state.
- Returning Guard and Reserve members will be protected from hostile work environment issues by stronger employment and re-employment policies and enforcement, under the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act (USERRA).
- Veterans of past eras/conflicts (Vietnam, Desert Storm, etc) could be eligible for up to 1-year of additional Montgomery GI Bill assistance for training in high-demand job sectors.
Don't let that last bullet slip by unnoticed. It is rare these days for any new programs or laws to provide assistance to our pre-9/11 veterans. This is a very big deal for those who often feel abandoned and forgotten.
The next step is for the Senate to pass this bill. According to reports, the leadership of the Senate’s Veterans Affairs Committee has indicated it would have their support.
Read more about this bill on Military.com.