Duckworth’s Troop Talent Act of 2013 is a companion bill to a Senate version put forward by Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., in early April. American Legion Economic Division staff helped draft Kaine’s bill – his first since the former Virginia governor was elected to the Senate — and assisted both the Senator and Rep. Duckworth in gaining bipartisan support for their respective measures.

The Troop Talent Act is designed to aid active-duty servicemembers in pursuing a suitable career once they leave the military. The legislation directs the services to provide military occupational specialty trainees with information about any civilian licenses or certifications for which their military training and subsequent experience could qualify them directly, or what additional steps might be taken to gain civilian credentials. The Troop Talent Act also provides for the education of civilian credentialing and licensing entities about military training curricula so requirements might be modified to accommodate service-trained applicants.

Duckworth resigned as the VA’s assistant secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs in mid-2011 to pursue a political career in Illinois. She was elected to the U.S, House in November 2012. The Army veteran, a double amputee from combat wounds received in Iraq, has been a frequent participant in American Legion symposia, panel discussions and other Legion-staged events. She was a featured speaker at this year’s Washington Conference.