Washington, D.C.- This week, Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus Congresswoman Katherine Clark (D-MA-5), Congressman David McKinley (R-WV-1), Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin (D-MI-08), Glenn Thompson (R-PA-15), Gil Cisernos (D-CA-39) and Steve Stivers (R-OH-15) introduced the Support for Veterans in Effective Apprenticeships Act, H.R. 5314, a bipartisan bill that would improve veterans' access to registered apprenticeships.
"Our country's veterans have made deeply personal sacrifices in order to serve this country. We owe them not only our gratitude, but also concrete support, including access to career opportunities that will help them build a future back at home," said Rep. Clark. "This bipartisan bill will streamline the opportunities that they have rightfully earned."
"Our nation is facing a shortage of skilled workers that are needed to keep our economy growing. Apprenticeship programs are a central part of filling the growing demand for skilled workers," Rep. McKinley said. "This legislation will remove barriers that can prevent our servicemen and women from enrolling in registered apprenticeships programs and building off the skill they have developed in the military. These programs lead to good-paying careers and should be just as accessible to our veterans as any other type of education."
"Veterans should have every opportunity to enroll in an apprenticeship that connects them to good-paying jobs, and I'm so proud to introduce a bipartisan bill that expands the number of programs veterans can access with their GI benefits, and requires programs to take into account the rich skillsets veterans develop through their service in their training placement," Rep. Slotkin said. "This bill came straight from concerns raised by veterans in our district -- that only a small fraction of apprenticeship programs certified by the Department of Labor would accept GI benefits, and that too often veterans aren't even aware their GI benefits can go toward high-skills training programs. This bill closes those gaps, will expand the number of programs available to veterans, and ensures opportunities for veterans don't slip through the cracks between agencies."
"Veterans attain so many valuable skills during their service, yet many face barriers upon return to civilian life," said Rep. Thompson. The Veterans in Effective Apprenticeships Act will make sure men and women who have served are able to connect with quality apprenticeships, which lead to good paying, family sustaining jobs."
"Veterans are among the most hardworking, skilled, and dedicated individuals an employer can hire," Rep. Stivers said. "We owe it to them to ensure that they are able to use the skills they gained in the service to earn a living and better their communities, and this is a step in the right direction. By working to give veterans better access to apprenticeship programs, we are helping smooth the transition between active duty and civilian life, and I'm proud to support this bill."
"As a Navy veteran and co-founder of the bipartisan Congressional Military Transition Assistance Pathway Caucus, I strongly believe we need to do more to support our veterans as they successfully transition back into civilian life," said Rep. Cisneros. "This bipartisan bill will ensure our veterans are aware of apprenticeship and job placement programs that will enable them to provide for their loved ones and be productive members of our military family. I'm honored to join Vice Chair Clark in this effort and urge the House to swiftly act on this common-sense legislation."
Access to registered apprenticeship programs can create a path toward good-paying jobs for veterans entering or returning to the workforce. Currently, there is a discrepancy between listed registered apprenticeships and those that have received approval for Veteran Affairs (VA) benefits. The legislation will close that gap by taking three critical steps. The bill will:
-ensure that apprenticeship programs are aware of and will make a good faith effort to complete the expedited VA process for registering apprenticeships,
-clarify that veterans are eligible for advanced program placement and commensurate wage increases based on their military experience, and
-improve coordination between the agencies by requiring the DOL to inform the VA of newly registered programs.
The Senate companion bill was passed by earlier this week on Wednesday, December 4, 2019 and the Representatives are hoping for quick adoption of this bipartisan legislation by the House.