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Veterans Can Be Trained For High Tech Jobs with New Federal Program

tech training for vets

By Debbie Gregory.

While the post-9/11 GI Bill provides funding for veterans to pursue traditional education programs, technological advancements have resulted in high tech jobs for military, high tech jobs for veterans, military high tech jobs and veteran high tech jobs.

These are great jobs that veterans interested in technology careers can and should fill. But unfortunately, most short-term tech training programs aren’t eligible for funding from the G.I. Bill,

A bill sponsored by CA Rep. Ro Khanna will now change that. The bill will launch a five-year pilot program so that short-term tech training courses will be able to get G.I. Bill funding much easier.

“These types of skills might be more beneficial in getting a good job than two years of college or even four years of college,” said Khanna.

The bill will fund programs like NPower, a nonprofit that offers courses in the basics of computer hardware, software, and advanced network administration..

The program, which costs between $6,000 and $10,000 per student, is currently funded by foundations and grants and doesn’t charge the veteran participants. But G.I. Bill funding would enable NPower to serve a greater number of veterans.

Khanna’s bill also allows veterans to collect their BAH housing stipends to offset their living expenses while they’re taking a training course.

High tech training will give veterans a leg up when it comes to securing good jobs. In fact, many veterans already have security clearances necessary for tech companies that contract with the government.

Khanna was the lead Democratic sponsor on the tech funding pilot program which was spearheaded by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield as part of a larger G.I. Bill expansion.

If the pilot program goes well, it could become permanent.

“This is reorienting the G.I. Bill for the 21st century,” Khanna said.

In a deeply divided Congress, it’s nice to see our elected officials reach across the aisle to benefit our veterans.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

 

Increasingly, Veterans Denied VA Care Due to Discharge Circumstances

discharge

By Debbie Gregory.

An other than honorable discharge is the military equivalent of a “scarlet letter.” Often called “bad paper,”  the designation carries serious post-service consequences. A growing number of veterans have been ruled ineligible for benefits because of less-than-honorable discharges.

Former members of the military are being refused benefits at the highest rate since the system was created at the end of World War II, according to a recent report. More than 125,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have what are known as “bad paper” discharges that preclude them from receiving care. But veterans with bad paper argue that their conduct was the result of post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury.

The situation has created a unique conundrum.

“We separate people for misconduct that is actually a symptom of the very reason they need health care,” said Coco Culhane, a lawyer who works with veterans at the Urban Justice Center in New York.

The highest rate of bad paper is found in the Marine Corps, where one in 10 is now ineligible for benefits.

The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, also known as the G. I. Bill, defined who was eligible for VA  benefits. It instructed the VA to care for veterans if their service was “other than dishonorable.” The agency interpreted this as excluding “other than honorable” discharges.

The rising proportion of ineligible veterans is largely due to the military’s increasing reliance on other-than-honorable discharges, which have been used as a quick way to dismiss troubled servicemembers who might otherwise qualify for time-consuming and expensive medical discharges.

Though veterans can apply for a category upgrade, the process is confusing, inconsistent and slow, Mr. Adams said.

Only 10 percent of veterans are successful; a decision takes, on average, four years, the report said. In some regions, all requests are rejected.

Research has shown that veterans with bad paper discharges may be more likely to commit suicide. Those with untreated post-traumatic stress disorder are at higher risk of homelessness, drug abuse and incarceration.

“The nation’s long had a social contract with its troops that says we will send you to war, and when you come home we will care for you,” said Phil Carter, an Iraq veteran now at the Center for a New American Security, a Washington DC think tank specializing in national security issues. “There’s been this gap; this population that’s gone to war and earned the benefits of that social contract, but for whatever reason had these benefits taken away.”

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

 

Veterans Racking Up Student Debt Despite G.I. Bill

 

GI Bill Students

By Debbie Gregory.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill is by far the most comprehensive education benefits package since the original GI Bill was signed into law in 1944. More than 1.4 million veterans and their family members who have received transferred benefits have used the bill for their veteran education.

But despite the generous benefits, many of those attending college for their veteran education are taking out substantial student loans and diving into debt.

Twenty-six percent of undergraduates receiving veteran education benefits, meant to financially cover four years of tuition at a public university, have nevertheless been made to take out student loans to finance their education and living expenses

The average loan was $7,400 — slightly more than for students who had never served in the military. But over the course of four years, this figure could easily grow to more than $25,000.

Veterans groups are concerned about borrowing by GI Bill users, who ideally should be able to graduate debt-free. The GI Bill theoretically covers four academic years of tuition at public colleges and universities, and has programs to cover the vast majority of expenses at many private institutions. Veterans also receive a monthly living allowance — averaging about $1,300, depending on where they live — to help cover expenses while they attend school.

Federal law prohibits colleges and the government from considering GI Bill benefits when determining financial aid. This allows veterans to take out low-interest education loans to use however they want. Some use the money to pay off other debts or educational expenses not covered under the GI Bill. Others use it for bills or to help support their families.

Additionally, beneficiaries at for-profit schools, which have been under fire for their high costs and low job-placement rates, are more likely to take out loans.

The actual benefit amount varies, based on an individual’s total length of service.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.