Washington, DC – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) introduced legislation today promoting a program within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to cover costs for non-traditional technology education programs. H.R. 1989, The Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC) Act, empowers America’s veterans to leverage new education models such as Massive Open Online Courses and coding boot camps to attain the technological skills needed in the 21st century workforce. McCarthy released the following statement on the introduction of the bill:
“This legislation will prepare our veterans to thrive in a changing economy. America’s veterans are the best our country has to offer, and their service experience and work ethic are unparalleled. With these fundamental qualities, veterans can be our greatest asset in the modern economy if only we empower them to learn the skills of the 21st century workforce. While the post-9/11 GI Bill provides funding for veterans to pursue traditional education programs, rapid technological advancements have created jobs that our veterans interested in careers in the technology economy can and should fill. The benefits designed to help veterans transition to civilian life must be updated to expand educational opportunities and fit the changing times. Our veterans have the character and drive to do any job. We must support them to learn skills for the jobs of the future.”
The VET TEC Act would:
- Authorize the VA to contract with technology education program to provide non-traditional technology courses to veterans
- The VA currently runs a similar in-house pilot program where it partners with technology education programs for coding/programming boot camps, information technology (IT) certification courses, and web services. This bill would establish and expand the VA pilot program.
- Provide the VA the flexibility to use contracting as an alternative oversight mechanism
- The bill includes language to ensure only reputable educational programs can participate in the program, gives preference to programs offering tuition reimbursement, and includes payment milestones to ensure accountability. This will allow the VA to expand its current contract model and give it the flexibility to terminate contracts with under-performing or fraudulent educational programs.
- Provide veterans with a housing stipend
- Similar to the Post 9/11 GI Bill, veterans participating in the pilot program will be able to receive a housing stipend to offset their living expenses.