U.S. Rep. Mcsally Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Connect Veterans to Job Training Programs
WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Representative Martha McSally (R-AZ) today introduced the bipartisan Veterans’ Entry to Apprenticeship Act. The bill would allow veterans to use their educational benefits to enroll in pre-apprenticeship programs and would provide returning veterans with a smooth transition to the civilian workforce.
“As a veteran, I know first-hand the difficulties our returning service members face as they transition to civilian life. This bill will make it easier for them to obtain jobs using the benefits they earned,” said Congresswoman Martha McSally. “Stable, good-paying tradecraft and manufacturing jobs in our community remain vacant because there aren’t enough people with the skills to fill them. Allowing GI bill use for these training programs benefits our returning troops and their families, as well as local businesses. It only makes sense. Thanks to Rep. Gabbard for working with me on this commonsense legislation.”
Currently, GI Bill benefits cannot be used to cover the cost of Department of Labor approved pre-apprenticeship programs. In certain industries, many veterans face barriers to entry into apprenticeship programs because they lack pre-apprenticeship training. These programs teach the skills and techniques necessary to prepare individuals for apprenticeship training and careers in the skilled trade industry. The Veterans’ Entry to Apprenticeship Act allows veterans to use their educational benefits under the GI Bill to learn critical workplace skills.
“Our service members develop valuable skills and experience while serving our nation, and should be able to access opportunities to further develop those skills and set themselves up for success as they transition into civilian life. Veterans still face many obstacles as they go through this transition,” Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, Co-Chair of the Congressional post-9/11 Veterans Caucus previously stated. “This bill works to make that transition smoother by enabling our veterans to use their GI Bill benefits for apprenticeship programs in the skilled trade industry. While there is much to be done, this bill will help reduce the still too high numbers of unemployed veterans, and address the shortage of skilled workers in our country.”
The shortage of skilled workers in the United States in recent years is expected to grow, which explains why more apprenticeship programs are launching across the country—in fact, 1,700 new apprenticeship programs were established last year. With an increasing number of post-9/11 veterans looking to enter the workforce and an estimated 453,000 unemployed veterans in 2016, this bill will make it easier for service members to pursue careers in occupations that require an apprenticeship.
This bill builds on Rep. McSally’s track record of supporting veterans. Last week the House passed the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Act to improve services to veterans by protecting whistleblowers and streamlining the process to remove, demote, or suspend any Veterans’ Affairs employee for poor performance. Rep. McSally’s first bill, the Border Jobs for Vets Act was signed into law on October 16, 2015. It fills vacancies at ports of entry and along the border with veterans by ensuring separating service members are aware of hiring opportunities for Customs and Border Protection positions.