On-job, training programs are win-win

Both on-the-job and apprenticeship training programs are available for veterans using their Veterans Administration education benefits, including the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

These programs allow veterans to learn a trade or skill through on-the-job participation and training rather than attending formal classroom instruction.

A veteran generally enters into a training contract for a specific period of time with an employer or union, and at the end of the training period, the veteran gains job certification or journeyman status.

Employers or unions generally pay a reduced on-the-job training or apprenticeship wage, generally 40 to 50 percent of journeyman wages.

Veterans in an approved program can use their GI Bill benefit and receive a tax-free stipend. The Post-9/11 GI Bill stipend is the equivalent of the Monthly Housing Allowance of an E-5 with dependents, which is paid in addition to the entry-level wage.

The stipend is reduced 20 percent every six months thereafter as the veteran’s wages increase until the veteran has attained journeyman status and pay.

Stipend payments for other GI Bill programs can be found online at www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.

Approved employers can use this benefit as a recruiting tool by using wages plus stipend to attract veteran candidates.

State Approving Agencies are responsible for approving on-the-job training and apprenticeship programs in their respective states. Requirements generally entail submitting a training request form that specifically outlines the proposed program, wages and standard workweek information, as well as the company contact name and phone number. Once all required documents are submitted, approval generally is completed in one to two months.

For more information about on-the-job training and apprenticeship programs and how to apply, visit www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.

In addition to the services listed above, the VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program provides employers with other benefits through the Special Employer Incentive Program. Employers hiring veterans with a service-connected disability who are approved for VRE services may be entitled to reimbursements up to 50 percent of the veteran’s salary for six months to offset training costs. Additional information about the VRE on-the-job training program can be found at www.vba.va.gov/bln/vre/emp_resources.htm.

Richard Schleeter is the veterans service officer for the La Plata County Veterans Service Office. He can be reached at 759-0117 or schleeterrs@co.laplata.co.us.