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Wittman, Levin Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Help Veterans Access Jobs in Conservation and Management

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Tuesday, March 28th, 2023, Representatives Rob Wittman (VA-01) and Mike Levin (CA-49) introduced the bipartisan Get Rewarding Outdoor Work for our Veterans (GROW) Act, to establish a pilot program to employ veterans in federal jobs that relate to conservation, resource management, and environmental protection.

The GROW Act would direct the Department of Interior (DOI), in consultation with the Department of Labor (DOL) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), to administer a program that places veterans in DOI positions focused in the outdoors such as conservation projects, addressing maintenance backlogs at national parks, and park management. As of fiscal year 2020, 17.3% of DOI employees were veterans, compared to 30.2% across all executive branch agencies. The bill aims to reduce the veteran unemployment rate by fostering employment opportunities for veterans in federal agencies.

“Our veterans have made great sacrifices for our nation, and they deserve our unequivocal support in their transition back into civilian life,” said Rep. Wittman. “It’s incredibly important that we continue to create more opportunities for veterans to reintegrate into their communities post-service and ensure they know what resources and programs are available to assist them in this transition. The GROW Act provides another avenue to success for our nation’s heroes, and I’m proud to join Representative Levin in introducing this vital piece of legislation.”

“The federal government has a duty to ensure veterans returning to civilian life can obtain jobs that advance their skillsets and can support their families. We must make it easier for veterans to find employment using lessons learned from established workforce training programs that have a proven track record. The GROW Act accomplishes all these goals by giving veterans the tools to succeed,” said Rep. Levin. “Additionally, the GROW Act prioritizes conservation and environmental protection jobs for veterans. It is a win for the environment, a win for servicemembers, and a win for our country.”

The bill utilizes best practices from the VA’s Warrior Training Advancement Course (WARTAC) program to help veterans land jobs at DOI. This program connects veterans with real-world job experiences and helps them gain the necessary skills to obtain good-paying jobs at VA.

The GROW Act also directs VA to submit a report to Congress and the head of each federal agency that details the best practices and hiring elements of WARTAC, and DOL to report on how best to implement these recommendations at federal agencies.