Ciscomani bill would expand veterans’ access to education in skilled trades

A new bipartisan effort led by Rep. Juan Ciscomani (R-AZ) in the U.S. House of Representatives aims to widen veterans’ access to educational opportunities, particularly in high-demand skilled trade and vocational programs. 

The proposed bill, titled the Veterans Education and Technical Skills (VETS) Opportunity Act, aims to extend educational benefits under the post-9/11 GI Bill to include hybrid versions of skilled trade training programs. 

The bill’s backers say the initiative represents a significant step towards modernizing veterans’ educational benefits to align with evolving learning trends and address workforce shortages in essential trades. 

“This legislation makes an important modernization to our veterans’ GI benefits to include hybrid skilled trade educational programs,” Ciscomani said. “Not only does this improve the way our veterans access their benefits but also helps to tackle the current workforce shortage in skilled trades.”

Veterans often face barriers to employment upon returning to civilian life, including a lack of access to relevant training and certification programs. The VETS Opportunity Act seeks to dismantle these barriers by providing veterans with the necessary resources to acquire in-demand skills and qualifications, which would enhance their employment prospects in today’s competitive job market.

Hiring veterans is likely to boost private firms’ bottom line.

Consulting firm McKinsey & Co. last year found that veterans are “a source of labor potential that is untapped relative to the breadth of experience and depth of skills that they acquire and develop during their service,” and that “the economic opportunity of unleashing the value of veterans’ work experience through skills-based hiring could reach almost $15 billion over a ten-year period.”

Support for the bill comes from various organizations including the American Legion and the National Association of State Approving Agencies (NASAA).

“The proposed change would expand post-9/11 GI Bill eligibility to veterans enrolled in high-quality, postsecondary programs offered in a hybrid educational format that teach in-demand skilled trades that are aligned with the requirements of state and local employers,” John Bowen, Sr., chairman of the American Legion’s Veterans Employment & Education Commission said. 

The VETS Opportunity Act has been referred to the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

Add comment

Subscribe to the Dry Heat

Get updates on the most important news delivered right to your email. Fully personalized options. No SPAM. Unsubscribe anytime.

Sign Me Up!

Let’s Get Social

Chamber Business News wants to connect with you. Follow us, tweet, share, post, comment... however you get social is the perfect way to connect.