"First passed in 1944, the GI Bill transformed U.S. postsecondary education and the course of the nation’s economic development in the late 20th century. Seventy-three years later, the latest revision of the law is poised to mark another turning point for the education and workforce landscape," David DeSchryver and Noah Sudow, both of Whiteboard Advisors, write for EdSurge.
"The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, better known as the GI Bill, kicked off a college enrollment boom. By 1947, more than 50 percent of higher-education students were beneficiaries and, in some institutions, up to 60 percent of the entire student body were GI Bill veterans. These graduates began their careers in an uncertain postwar economy, but their education and training helped to fuel the nation’s phenomenal economic growth, what many call the 'Golden Age of Capitalism.'
Seventy-three years later, the 'Golden Age' may be behind us. Technology is ushering a new economic era where the jobs of yesterday are evolving—or eroding—with the emergence of the 'gig economy.' Automation and artificial intelligence will play a large role in shaping what skills future workers will need.
As it turns out, a rare bipartisan effort on Capitol Hill has positioned the GI Bill to extend its role in equipping veterans for what’s next in their careers. This August, Congress passed the “Forever GI Bill” and made two critical changes to the program designed to help veterans to forge tomorrow’s education to new education-to-employment pathways. (The program currently serves about one million veterans annually.)
First, as the title indicates, veterans will no longer lose their benefits after 15 years—as was the case under the original GI Bill. This is important because it recognizes that the path from education to employment is not as linear or sequential as in the past. Education, competencies, and skills training is more likely to happen in fits and start, as life allows.
Second, the providers and methods of education and job training programs are becoming more diverse. While traditional colleges and universities still do the lion’s share of the work, more and more programs are available by non-accredited education providers that focus on rapidly-changing skills and competencies that employers need now. Congress dedicated $75 million ($15 million per year over five years) to nontraditional providers for these new opportunities through the High Technology Pilot Program."
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Publication Date: 12/6/2017