Senator StadelmanSPRINGFIELD – To help service members who are transitioning from active duty to the workforce, State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) passed a measure to designate the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs as the primary assistance agency under the U.S. SkillBridge Program that helps employers find skilled workers.

“We need to assist our military members in returning to the workforce and centralize the resources available to veterans,” Stadelman said. “By using this designation, veterans can find their benefits the same place they find job placement assistance and continue working and serving their community.”

Currently, the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs refers veterans seeking employment assistance to the Illinois Department of Employment Security. House Bill 5385 would designate IDVA as the primary statewide assistance organization under the U.S. Department of Defense’s SkillBridge Program, which matches service members who are transitioning from active duty with workforce development opportunities at participating employers.

The SkillBridge program is operated by the U.S. Department of Defense and partners with employers across the state. This program helps active duty members gain job experience and transition to civilian workforce by matching service members with opportunities at participating businesses where their skill sets match.

“Helping our veterans return to the workforce is key for helping them through life after service,” Stadelman said. “By placing the employment assistance with the same organization that helps them with benefits, we can ensure that veterans will find the assistance they need when reaching out to Veteran Affairs.”

House Bill 5385 has passed the Illinois Senate and now moves to the governor for consideration before becoming law.