Proposed legislation looks to help veterans with higher ed

Proposed legislation looks to help veterans with their higher education
(Source: WAFB)
(Source: WAFB)
(Source: WAFB)
(Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The first legislation proposed by Governor Bobby Jindal this year looks to give veterans an advantage with higher education.

Two bills announced Thursday hope to make Louisiana a leader in supporting veterans educational career.

Making it easier for veterans to transition into Louisiana schools and eventually into the workforce.

Military men and women are trained to handle some of the most demanding situations of war and conflict, but those skills do not translate from the battlefield to the classroom.

"There's no one there to tell you, no counselors in the military, what to expect, how to schedule classes, how to chose a major. Those are certain things that you're out in the cold on and you're really on an island," said Louisiana Veterans Affairs Secretary David LaCerte.

Two proposed bills look to give student veterans a new system of support in Louisiana.

The first is authored by Democrat Senator Ben Nevers and will ensure that both the experience and training veterans gain during service will count as credit in Louisiana schools.

The second, which is authored by Republican Representative Henry Burns, creates a Veterans Friendly Designation for campuses that both accept military experience as credit and provide additional services to help veterans succeed such as priority class registration.

"Veterans are incredibly important to our economy and our state," said Stafford Palmieri, the governor's Assistant Chief of Staff. "They protect us and they have protected us in the past. We wanted to do legislation that would recognize the credit that they've earned at DOD contract schools."

According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, there are around 330 thousand veterans in Louisiana. As the U.S. scales down its military presence overseas, more and more of those service members will be looking to return to school or to find a civilian job. LaCerte said keeping those vets in state brings in federal money to campuses and qualified employees to the workforce.

"I think it's really set the trend nationally as to how we take care of our veterans in an educational environment," said LaCerte.

LaCerte says other bills supporting Louisiana veterans will be proposed later in the legislative session.

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