NDAA Conference Report, Including Smucker Amendment, Passes House
Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, the House passed the bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) conference report which included U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker’s (PA-16) amendment to expand opportunities for active-duty military men and women to learn career skills and occupational training. This expansion will assist them in their transitions back to civilian life.
In July, Rep. Smucker worked across the aisle with Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) to introduce an amendment to the FY18 NDAA that would expand eligibility for the United Services Military Apprenticeship Program (USMAP) to include all members of the uniformed services. Previously the program was only available to Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps personnel.
“America’s military is made up of hardworking men and women who wake up every day to serve others,” said Rep. Smucker. “We should be making it easier for them to transition to civilian life with a steady job, and infuse our workforce with leadership skills only the military can provide. But right now, less than half of our nation’s military personnel have access to USMAP and the completion rate for those who do enroll is falling at an alarming rate. This amendment will open up USMAP to any member of the uniformed service. I’m glad to work in a bipartisan manner with Reps. Gottheimer and Sinema to get this amendment included in the conference report on behalf of our brave men and women seeking training for family-sustaining jobs in their post-military life.”
Today, USMAP is available only to active duty Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps personnel. This amendment would expand eligibility to include all uniformed service members: Navy, Army, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and Public Health Services (PHS).
The United Services Military Apprenticeship Program was created in 1976 in an effort to improve the skills and training that active duty service members receive before transitioning back to civilian life. USMAP is conducted in collaboration with the Department of Labor and Department of Defense before service members complete their service.
USMAP combines occupational training with the registered apprenticeship office with 180 registered occupations related to civilian fields. USMAP offers employer-specific training while documenting skills and experiences to help veterans transition to civilian life. The program adds, on average, between 10 and 20 hours per week of specialized work experience in addition to regular classroom training. Apprenticeships through USMAP have increased by around 80 percent from 2008 to 2013 to make up 25 percent of all apprenticeships overseen by the Office of Apprenticeship (OA) in the Department of Labor, but the completion rate has dropped roughly 50 percent over the following years.