Ted Budd: America must help veterans obtain industry-specific skills

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 17, 2019

By Rep. Ted Budd

While there has been a lot of progress over the past few years in reducing the number of unemployed veterans in America, 370,000 still remained unemployed in 2017.

Last year, the House of Representatives passed sweeping reforms aimed at improving VA health care and increasing transparency in the appeals process. I proudly supported a handful of pro-veteran bills that were signed into law during the 115th Congress, but the momentum must not stop there, which is why I recently introduced the going to make the Veterans’ Entry to Apprenticeship Act.

Under current law, G.I. Bill benefits cannot be used to cover the cost of Department of Labor approved pre-apprenticeship programs, such as programs for welding or carpentry.

It doesn’t make much sense that veterans can’t use their educational benefits towards getting industry-specific skills.

This is where my bill comes into play, which would undo this old obstacle and provide veterans with the ability to use their educational benefits under the GI Bill to learn critical workplace skills.

With over 6 million unfilled jobs in America, I think it’s important that we look for ways to help businesses fill those openings.

The Veterans’ Entry to Apprenticeship Act will help veterans acquire the skills needed to be competitive for good-paying, in-demand jobs. Additionally, businesses in North Carolina are eager to hire veterans, and this bill will certainly expand the number of workplace opportunities for them.

Over the next few months, advancing this bill in the House will be one of my top priorities.

With an increasing number of post-9/11 veterans looking to enter the workforce every day, we must provide opportunities for service members to pursue careers in occupations that require an apprenticeship.

It’s my hope that this bill moves through the House next year, and I will continue to support reforms that expand employment opportunities for service members.

Congressman Budd represents North Carolina’s 13th District, which includes the city of Salisbury and parts of Rowan County. Contact his Washington, D.C., office at 202-225-4531. His closest office is in Davie County, 128 Peachtree Lane Suite A Advance, NC 27006. Call his Davie County office at 336-998-1313.