This year, the NC Chamber dedicated its 75th Annual Meeting to the brave men and women who serve in our nation’s military, honoring their sacrifice and indispensable contributions to North Carolina’s economy. With hundreds of thousands of well-trained veterans ready to find their place in the private sector, the military can sometimes be an under or untapped resource when it comes to hiring talent. It is for that reason, we devoted an entire session at the Annual Meeting to discussing the ways in which job creators could work with veterans to close the skills gap. As bipartisan legislation expanding the GI Bill benefits makes its way through Congress, the opportunity for veterans to fill our talent pipeline is growing even greater.
Recently, the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee unanimously approved a bill that will expand the education benefits granted by the GI Bill, eliminating the 15-year time cap for new enlistees to use their education assistance upon completion of their service. Additionally, the legislation will expand funding for non-traditional education services and will also increase assistance for National Guard members, Reserve troops and dependents of fallen troops. Another measure included in the legislation allows for the full reinstatement of benefits to veterans harmed by the closures of Corinthian Colleges and ITT Tech. Prior to the Committee’s review of the bill, an identical version of the legislation passed the House unanimously. This expansion of benefits creates even greater opportunities for these already highly-skilled workers to bolster their abilities and obtain additional skills for employment. This is not only huge for our service men and women but our job creators too.
775,000 veterans and more than 100,000 active duty military call North Carolina home. That’s hundreds of thousands of well-trained, highly-skilled individuals making up a unique talent pipeline ready and able to take on the jobs employers need filled. This legislation will be integral in providing our veterans with the resources they need to grow their skills and have a successful career after the military. As we discussed at our Annual Meeting, these men and women have unmatched potential in filling open roles and will well-serve employers in closing the skills gap, just as they have in protecting our country.
Gary J. Salamido
Vice President, Government Affairs
North Carolina Chamber