Yesterday, Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus Congresswoman Katherine Clark (D-MA-5), Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin (D-MI-08), Congressman David McKinley (R-WV-1), Congressman Glenn Thompson (R-PA-15), Congressman Gil Cisneros (D-CA-39) and Congressman Steve Stivers (R-OH-15) celebrated the passage of their Support for Veterans in Effective Apprenticeships Act, H.R. 5314, a bipartisan bill that will 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 that will help them build a future back at home," said Rep. Clark. "I am incredibly proud to see this bill pass through the House and am eager to see these career opportunities become available to our veterans."
"Increasing the paths of entry into higher paying careers for veterans is a phenomenal idea!" said Cynthia Shelton Harris, Deputy Director for Veteran Service Office for the City of Cambridge, Massachusetts. "It will give individuals who have served additional avenues to provide for themselves and their families by earning wages that establish self-sufficiency and utilize their transferrable skills."
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.
"When we make the decision to send men and women to fight for our country, we make the decision to support them for the rest of their lives -- that means veterans should have every opportunity to enroll in an apprenticeship that connects them to good-paying jobs, and have expenses covered by their GI benefits," Slotkin said. "This bill came straight from concerns raised by Michigan veterans -- 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. Today, we're passing legislation that closes those gaps and makes our system work better for veterans. Senator Peters has championed this legislation in the Senate, and I couldn't be more proud to have supported his efforts to push it through the finish line in the House and to the President's desk."
"Today, the House passed legislation that helps our veterans register for apprenticeship programs and build off the skills they developed in the military," said Rep. McKinley. "Our service men and women deserve every opportunity and these programs should be accessible to our veterans just as any other type of education."
"Today's vote is a victory for our veterans who will be able to put the skills gained in service to use, and for the business owners who will be able to tap into this incredible labor pool," Stivers said. "By giving veterans better access to apprenticeship programs, the House took a big step in smoothing the transition between military and civilian life, as well as in filling the need for skilled workers that our economy demands."
"I'm pleased to see the Support for Veterans in Effective Apprenticeships Act receive strong bipartisan support," said Rep. Glenn "GT' Thompson. "Providing workforce development opportunities, including apprenticeships, to our veterans is crucial for their personal and professional wellbeing. This bill will help them capitalize on the skill sets they obtained during their service, find rewarding work when they return home, and earn a family sustaining wage."
"Our courageous veterans put their lives on the line in defense for our country and freedoms. As a Navy Veteran and the Co-Chair to the Military Transition Assistance Pathways (MTAP) Caucus, I hear first-hand about the significant challenges veterans face trying to find good-paying jobs," said Rep. Cisneros. "I'm proud to work with my Democratic and Republican colleagues to help fix this problem and improve veterans' access to apprenticeships. We need to do more to ensure they are provided with the support and resources they deserve."
In early December 2019, the Senate passed the companion bill. The bill will now advance to the President's desk.