Norcross, Kim to introduce bill linking veterans with trade apprenticeships
Cherry Hill Courier-Post
November 7, 2019
Stephan Jackson has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in education, but the U.S. Marine Corps veteran said he was still at a loss upon his discharge from military service.
The Veterans Administration, he said, offered “no real guidance or direction” in his search for post-military work.
“It was difficult,” the Atlantic City resident said. “We spend a lot of time training and preparing for war, for being where harm’s way becomes our way, that the transition (to civilian life) is tough.”
Jackson’s transition has been eased, he said, through his apprenticeship with IBEW Local 351, where he is working as an electrician.
He’s optimistic a bill that will be introduced next week by U.S. Representatives Donald Norcross and Andy Kim, two Democrats, will help other veterans as they prepare for life back home.
The BRAVE Act — Bringing Registered Apprenticeships to Veterans Education — will be introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives next week, said Norcross, a former electrician and vocal proponent of skilled trades training.
The bill, for which Norcross expects bipartisan support, would ensure that service members are provided with information on training in trades.
“This would ensure a smooth transition for those who put their lives on hold while we sit home,” said Norcross, whose son and daughter-in-law are both military veterans. “No veteran who wants a job should ever be unemployed.”
Veterans, he said, are well-suited to work in trades: They’re used to rising early to work, they are used to training for jobs and their military service often requires them to work outdoors, in the elements and under challenging conditions.