Rep. Mike Levin’s Bipartisan Bill to Improve Veterans’ Job Training and Education Benefits Passes the Senate
Oceanside, CA – Today, the Senate passed legislation led by U.S. Representative Mike Levin (D-CA), Chair of the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity, with Ranking Member Mike Bost (R-IL) to improve veterans’ job training and education benefits by amending a number of provisions under the American Rescue Plan Act and the Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020. A summary of their bill, the Training in High-demand Roles to Improve Veteran Employment (THRIVE) Act, is available here. Bill text is available here.
The bill strengthens the COVID-19 Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program created under the American Rescue Plan Act by directing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to facilitate a study determining high-demand occupations. It also clarifies veterans’ eligibility for housing stipends under the retraining program, directs VA to contact participating veterans about employment placement services, and directs VA to work with qualified nonprofit business associations to facilitate the employment of participating veterans.
The THRIVE Act also includes provisions to improve the GI Bill Comparison Tool, require State Approving Agencies (SAAs) to conduct annual risk-based surveys of a university or university system for three years after it converts from a for-profit to a public institution, and strengthen the prohibition on schools carrying out deceptive recruiting techniques to secure veteran enrollments.
“We have a responsibility to ensure veterans receive high quality services to help them pursue a higher education or train for a new career, particularly as we recover from this devastating pandemic,” said Rep. Levin. “The THRIVE Act will make much-needed improvements by bolstering the rapid retaining program, strengthening GI Bill benefits, and more. I’m proud to lead this bill with Ranking Member Bost, and I look forward to President Biden signing it.
Rep. Levin led the bipartisan Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020 (H.R. 7105) last year, historic legislation that includes many provisions he had previously introduced to allow VA to provide more services for homeless veterans, improve the HUD-VA Supportive Housing program, improve the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) for servicemembers returning to civilian life, and much more. It also includes legislation by Rep. Levin’s colleagues to strengthen VA health care services, support women veterans, increase VA oversight, and more.