In the House, the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 (Forever GI Bill) incorporated critical Chamber-supported language that allows veterans to use their benefits to learn coding and web design from "developer boot camps" like General Assembly, Hack Reactor, Galvanize, and The Iron Yard. The legislation passed the U.S. House last month. Thank you to U.S. Congressmen Lloyd Doggett, Lamar Smith, John Carter, Bill Flores, and Blake Farenthold for your support.
While advocating for Central Texas in Washington, D.C. in June, Chamber volunteers met with congressional lawmakers regarding technology courses for veterans and recently sent a letter of support to our Central Texas House delegation.
The bill, with the proposed improvements, allows veterans to quickly gain in-demand technology skills appropriate for the 7,200 STEM-related job openings and 40,000 job openings in Central Texas. Over the past three years, the Austin Metro has seen a quick growth in demand for accelerated technology programs as well as an increasingly competitive market for tech talent. More than 18 computer programming boot camps have built a presence in Austin since 2014.
Central Texas is home to more than 115,000 veterans, over 5,000 technology companies, and 1,065 defense contractors. More than $13 million defense contracts were awarded to contractors in Austin from 2000 to 2015. In fact, the nation’s first start-up incubator focused on supporting U.S. Military Veterans, Bunker Labs, is located in Austin.
UPDATE: This story was updated August 2017 to include benefits of the bill and signage of the policy.
Greater Austin Chamber
The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce focuses on how the Austin region works. We serve as the voice of business for our member organizations and their employees throughout Central Texas. Our mission is to provide leadership that facilitates the creation of a prosperous regional economy and effective advocacy for members.