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Leader McCarthy and Chairman Roe Op-Ed: A GI Bill for the 21st Century

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A GI Bill for the 21st Century


By Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Chairman Phil Roe

App developer, robotics technician, digital animator, and advanced manufacturer—what do all of these careers have in common? They didn’t exist 73 years ago when the GI bill was signed into law. When our fighting forces shipped out to the Pacific and to the battlefields of Europe nearly a quarter Americans were farmers. Today, that number is around .01%.

Our economy has undergone radical transformations. With the rise of everything from driverless cars to robotics to artificial intelligence, more changes are to come. It makes you wonder what jobs will exist in 73 years that we don’t have or can’t imagine today. In fact, research shows that 65 percent of children in elementary school will hold jobs that haven’t yet been created.

We should not view these inevitable changes with the fear of so many of the forecasters in the media, but rather take action to use these changes to our advantage. When our soldiers came home from WWII, they became the most economically successful generation in history in large part because they received education with their GI Bill benefits. This next generation of veterans has the potential recreate that success if we reform the GI Bill to fit our changing times.

After all, veterans have the raw potential for success. They have the work ethic, intelligence, ability to thrive under pressure, and sense of duty necessary for any job. What they need when they come home is the type of education that will help them get and master tomorrow’s careers.

The House’s reforms to the GI bill will set our veterans up for success in two main ways: we give veterans the opportunity to use their education benefits throughout their lives instead of within 15 years of their service, and we will allow veterans to use their benefits for nontraditional education models so they can get needed jobs quickly.

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For more information about the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, click here.
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