Washington, D.C. – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) spoke in favor of the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act. This bill greatly expands the education benefits within the GI Bill. McCarthy’s remarks highlighted his provision in the bill, the VET TEC Act. This provision enables veterans to enroll in non-traditional technology courses and programs that are geared to getting a job after completion. It also provides the VA the necessary flexibility to approve these education programs—while also guarding against abuses.
McCarthy’s full remarks as prepared can be found below:
“Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to say a few words in support of the GI Bill reforms this committee will work on this week.
“First, let me begin by recognizing the positive work this committee has achieved so far this year. On a bipartisan basis you are leading Congress to deliver on our duty to provide veterans better health care and post-service opportunities. The dynamic here is a model for our colleagues. And I look forward to continuing to work together on behalf of the men and women who protect and serve this great country.
“Chief among the promises we make to the men and women who serve is to give them support and resources to obtain an education after service. Applying the lessons they learn in the service to the lessons taught in the classroom is an enrichment opportunity that our society benefits from greatly. The post 9/11 GI Bill has long helped countless veterans in educational and career pursuits.
“But today, we are on the brink of vast career and work transformations. The rise of artificial intelligence and robotics are upending how jobs are performed as we have traditionally known them.
“But as we all saw with the advent of ATM’s, this disruption has promise to be a job creator, not destroyer. The challenge before us is securing the right response for Americans to get ahead and take advantage of the changes.
“News reports abound highlighting the skills gap in today’s workforce. AP’s headline on the May jobs report was concise: ‘Jobs Data Could Signal Shortage of Qualified Workers to Hire.’ By 2024, the tech industry is expected to add almost 500,000 new jobs to the industry. However, many tech employers are looking for candidates who have a particular skill set that candidates often do not learn in traditional settings.
“Consequently, industry employers have turned to non-traditional programs like boot camps, nano-degrees, and coding schools to find candidates with the necessary skillset. The traditional career path is no longer a straight shot.
“These non-traditional technology education models are part of the solution to closing the skills gap. Just ask Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon, Ford, GE, or any of America’s great companies and they will tell you of the promise these non-traditional models hold.
“But currently veterans are unable to apply their GI education benefits to these courses. My provision in this legislation creates a pilot program to provide veterans the ability to take advantage of these education opportunities.
“Veterans are prime candidates for tech positions because of their military discipline, ability to work under pressure, and teamwork. Many veterans often learn skills during their service and training that could be applied to the tech industry.
“The VET TEC Act enables veterans to enroll in non-traditional technology courses and programs that are geared to getting a job after completion. This provision also provides the VA the necessary flexibility to approve these education programs, while also guarding against abuses.
“These reforms the committee will consider this week will have a positive impact felt by veterans returning to civilian life. This impact will be lifelong.
“And with a renewed commitment to career preparation, particularly in the technology industry, American industry and our veterans stand to lead in the 21st century. Thank you.”