Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO), a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, released the following statement regarding S. 153, the Supporting Veterans in STEM Careers Act, being signed into law today. This bipartisan legislation includes Senator Gardner’s language directing the U.S. Government Accountability Office to study the barriers student veterans face when pursuing careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).
The Supporting Veterans in STEM Careers Act is part of Gardner’s VA Readiness Initiative, which he launched to ensure the federal government is always ready to assist veterans and prepared to fulfill the promises our country has made them.
“We must honor our immeasurable debt we owe past and present military members for their dedicated service by ensuring there are tools and support to navigate civilian life. I’m a strong advocate for promoting STEM opportunities, and this important bipartisan legislation will help ease the transition back to civilian life for servicemembers and strengthen the economy by encouraging student veterans to pursue careers in fast growing STEM fields,” said Senator Gardner. “Military experience provides invaluable education, leadership and education skills and I’m pleased our bipartisan legislation to help our heroes navigate this rapidly expanding sector of our economy is now law.”
“Last year Colorado Mesa University student veterans shared concerns with United States Senator Cory Gardner. They believed changes to GI legislation would harm Colorado student veterans. Senator Gardner was a strong advocate to address those concerns and today the President of the United States signed additional legislation advocated by CMU students. The new legislation requires a comprehensive study into the barriers student veterans face when pursuing a STEM degree and recommendations to Congress on how to even better support and encourage student veterans. The time, energy and action taken by CMU student veterans illustrates persistence at the local level can result in change at the national level. As President of CMU I appreciate Senator Gardner meeting with our students and advancing their cause in the United States Congress. CMU serves more than 400 student veterans, and all of them are better off today because of Congress’ commitment to improving GI Bill support for veterans pursuing STEM degrees,” said Colorado Mesa University President Tim Foster.
“I am proud to be the first CMU student veteran to graduate under the STEM extension made possible by Senator Gardner and the tireless efforts of my fellow student veterans. Our voices were heard last year during a meeting at CMU. GI Bill funding will allow me to graduate in 2020 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. The promises made to me and my fellow service members under the GI bill will be kept. The Supporting Veterans IN STEM Careers Act will further encourage and assist student veterans with a career in STEM. This is a huge day for CMU student veterans studying in a STEM related field as well as student veterans throughout Colorado,” said Colorado Mesa University Student Veteran William Rozman, Senior, Mechanical Engineering.
“This really helps remove barriers in educational attainment for Veterans within the STEM fields. It’s encouraging to have the resources that allow veterans to pursue a more extensive degree field and not be deterred because of the financial cost they will incur,” said Kent Hess, Colorado Mesa University Student Veterans Association Community Outreach Officer.
Senator Gardner has made it a priority to improve veterans services and ease the transition to civilian life:
- Gardner launched his VA Readiness Initiative in February 2019 to ensure the government is always ready to assist veterans and prepared to fulfill the promises our country has made them.
- Gardner and a bipartisan group of colleagues introduced the Hire Student Veterans Act in February 2019, which would expand the existing Work Opportunity Tax Credit to ensure all student veterans using their GI benefits can take advantage of valuable paid internships or work opportunities while in school.
- Gardner reintroduced the bipartisan Improving Preparation and Resources for Occupational, Vocational, and Educational (IMPROVE) Transition for Servicemembers Act in May 2019 to provide pre-separation counseling, training and assistance to servicemembers returning to civilian live and their families.
- In June 2019, Gardner introduced the Veterans Small Business Ownership Improvements Act to protect and enhance entrepreneurship training for service members, veterans, and their families.
- In November 2019, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources unanimously passed the bipartisan Energy Jobs for our Heroes Act, introduced by Senators Gardner and Bennet to help ease the transition back to civilian life for service members and connect veterans with jobs in the rapidly expanding energy sector.
- The Senate unanimously passed Gardner’s bipartisan VA Provider Accountability Act in December 2019, which would bring much-needed accountability to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
- In January 2020, The Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs passed Gardner’s bipartisan Veterans Improved Access and Care Act to hold the Department of Veterans Affairs accountable to a higher standard for hiring process timelines.
Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.
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