On Oct. 30, Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-Mich.) introduced a bill into the U.S. House of Representatives that would make it easier for veterans to take advantage of apprenticeship programs. The Veterans Entry to Apprenticeship Act (3384) would amend Title 38 to allow veterans to use their educational benefits for enrollment in pre-apprenticeship programs.
“As an Army veteran of both Vietnam and Iraq, I am well aware of the difficulties of transitioning to civilian life and how essential workplace skill training can be,” Bentivolio wrote in a letter to his colleagues. “Our service members sacrifice everything in defense of this country and deserve to be able to use programs designed to help them succeed after the end of their military career.”
Because apprentices must be on the job performing work, training for safety and basic skills is needed for certain trades before these veterans can be hired. However, under current regulations, veterans’ educational benefits cannot be extended to cover the programs that would teach these skills—and without those skills, veterans may never be able to use their educational benefits to complete an apprenticeship program.
“I find it imperative that we enable these service members to fully use their educational benefits to enter a pre-apprenticeship program,” Bentiolio wrote. “With an estimated 20 percent of veterans ages 20-24 unemployed, now is the perfect opportunity to encourage our warfighters to pursue careers in apprenticeable fields.”