WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, September 29th, 2020 Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Conor Lamb (PA-17), and Gil Cisneros (CA-39) introduced the Protecting Apprenticeship Training for Veterans Act, which would extend GI Bill benefits for veterans whose registered apprenticeships were cut short due to COVID-19. This legislation builds on the bipartisan efforts of Lamb and Fitzpatrick who have been advocating for the needs of the nation's veterans, transitioning service members, and their families in the next COVID-19 legislative response package.
Currently, veterans must meet a minimum number of apprenticeship hours to receive their full Monthly Housing Allowance. However, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, many registered apprenticeships have ended or been cut short – resulting in veterans facing a reduction or suspension in their stipend. The legislation introduced today would pause GI benefit time limits for those impacted and would allow veteran apprentices who were laid off to roll over excess hours from a previous month to meet the hourly requirement. This bill also provides COVID-19 pandemic relief assistance to veterans who are nontraditional students in Registered Apprenticeship and On-the-Job Training programs.
“Our veterans put their lives on the line for our country, and they deserve all the support we can provide them. Veterans contribute so much to our workforce, and registered apprenticeships are critical in securing good-paying jobs,” said Fitzpatrick. “COVID-19 shut down many job training and apprenticeship programs, and it is not fair for our veterans participating in these programs to lose the benefits they have earned. I’m proud to partner with Rep. Lamb on this bipartisan bill to protect our veterans.”
“Veterans should not lose the benefits they’ve earned through their service due to circumstances out of their control,” said Lamb. “Extending the GI bill benefits to ensure veterans receive the support they need for good-paying jobs is critical.”
“This pandemic has put a strain on our nation’s veterans—ending their apprenticeship programs and jeopardizing the benefits they have earned. As a Navy Veteran, I’m proud to work on a bipartisan basis with Reps. Fitzpatrick and Lamb to help our veterans and extend their GI Bill benefits. I’ll continue to fight for those who have served our country and ensure they have the support they need during this difficult time,” said Cisneros.
This legislation is supported by the Union Veterans Council.
“I commend the bipartisan leadership Rep. Lamb, Rep. Fitzpatrick, and Rep. Cisneros have shown in introducing this bill,” said Will Attig, Executive Director of the Union Veterans Council. “Apprenticeship and on-the-job programs like this changed my life and are instrumental in helping veterans like me across the country. However, these non-traditional education paths aren’t always as well-supported in our veterans’ legislation as traditional education paths. This bill makes great strides towards closing that gap and supporting these great programs that we know are effective.”
Click here to learn more about Protecting Apprenticeship Training for Veterans Act.