WASHINGTON–Two provisions introduced by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) were included in a broad, bipartisan veterans’ education bill approved by the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs today.
The Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 (S.1598) which aims to improve veterans’ education benefits and enhance the post-9/11 GI Bill includes a provision that Boozman authored to expand and strengthen a successful Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) pilot program covering the costs for non-traditional technology education programs. It also includes language from a bill Boozman introduced with Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) that seeks to ensure wounded members of the National Guard and Reserve receive the education benefits they earned through the GI Bill.
“These two provisions I worked to get included in this comprehensive bill make an already impressive package of reforms even stronger. Modernizing education benefits to allow veterans to learn technical skills such as computer coding and programming is a win-win for veterans and employers, while ensuring wounded Guard and Reserve members are eligible for the same GI Bill benefits as active duty members of the military is an overdue correction to an unfortunate injustice,” Boozman said.
The Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC) Act introduced by Boozman and included in the bill would allow veterans to learn valuable 21st century workforce skills such as computer coding and programming as a VA educational benefit. This is a proven program that covers costs of IT training that typically aren’t covered by the Post 9/11 GI Bill.
The GI Bill Fairness Act, introduced by Boozman and Wyden and included in the bill, would recognize as eligible for Post-9/11 GI Bill education assistance the type of orders (under 10 USC 12301(h)) that members of the Guard or Reserve are often given for their recovery and rehabilitation if they are wounded in combat.
Boozman serves on the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and was an original cosponsor of the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017. The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed an identical version of the Senate bill earlier this week.
The Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 makes much-needed updates for reservists, Purple Heart recipients, veterans who face school closures while enrolled and surviving family members. The legislation also provides increased resources and authority for educational assistance to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs, computer programming and career technical training.