A proposed policy change allowing teens to use their benefits from the GI Bill to build a business could possibly improve recruitment numbers in the United States military.
18-year-old Aden Gilbert told Fox News in an interview he felt as if college was “overrated” and suggested one way to bolster recruitment numbers in the military would be to allow teens to use the GI Bill benefits to use towards starting their own business.
“In the past, the GI Bill college tuition grants was the military’s big recruiting magnet,” Gilbert told the outlet, adding that its appeal was lost to him. “My acquaintances and peers, we think that college is very much overrated, and it can really just impede or delay and entrepreneur like myself.”
Gilbert’s comments are in reference to a bill introduced in February by Rep. Ben Cline (R-Va.) which is titled the Veterans Entrepreneurship Act of 2023. The bill would provide veterans with available resources through the Small Business Administration (SBA) and allow them to use their GI Bill benefits to pursue their dreams of starting a small business.
The GI Bill benefits help veterans “pay for college, graduate school, and training programs,” according to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs website.
Higher education is essential for many Veterans transitioning into civilian life, but some have a different calling. That’s why my bipartisan Veterans Entrepreneurship Act offers Veterans a choice to use their GI Bill benefits to buy a franchise or start a small business. ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/kTcVFF1fsA
— Congressman Ben Cline (@RepBenCline) November 15, 2022
Under the bill, a three-year “pilot program” would be created, limited to no more than “250 eligible veterans,” according to the text of the bill.
Veterans interested in partaking in the program should submit an application, have a business plan outlined, and go through business and entrepreneurship training.
“Why would I be taking classes on why America sucks, which is what’s taught in a lot of these colleges now, while my business competition is getting a four-year head start on me?” Gilbert asked, adding that it didn’t “make any sense.”
In April, military officials admitted during a hearing regarding the budget for the 2024 fiscal year that they would miss recruiting expectations for the 2023 fiscal year. The Army and Air Force said they would miss their recruiting goal by 10,000, while the Navy forecasted missing their goal by 6,000, according to Spectrum News.
A November 2022 report from the SBA’s Office of Advocacy showed that in 2018, 1,991,716 small businesses were owned by veterans.
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