GI Bill for On-the-job Training

otj training

By Debbie Gregory.

When separating from their military service, there are many newly-minted veterans who aren’t desirous of attending a traditional college or university to cash in on their veteran school benefits.  A better fitting veteran education option for them might be on-the-job (OJT) training or an apprenticeship program.

Both OJT and apprenticeship programs are available for veterans using their VA GI Bill education benefits, one of the most valuable veteran benefit.

These programs give veterans the opportunity to learn a trade or skill through training on the job participation rather than attending formal classroom instruction. The programs generally consist of entering into a training contract for a specific period with an employer or union. At the end of the training period, the veteran has earned job certification or journeyman status.

Usually, employers pay a reduced OJT/apprenticeship wage, which must be at least 50% of journeyman’s wage, with periodic wage increases, unless it’s a government program. By the last full month of training, the wage must be at least 85% of the wage for a fully trained employee.

In addition to the wages paid by the employer, veterans who are participating in an approved program can use their GI Bill benefit and receive a tax-free stipend equivalent to the Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) of an E-5 with dependents.  However, the stipend is reduced 20% every six months as the Veteran’s wages regularly increase until the Veteran has attained journeyman status and pay.

If traditional college/university education, OTJ training or an apprenticeship doesn’t fit the bill, one other option is available: beneficiaries can use their educational assistance to pursue accredited independent study programs at career and technical schools that provide postsecondary level education and postsecondary vocational institutions. This change went into effect August 16, 2017.

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 Court at Fort Hood is the Newest Veteran Benefit

veterans court

By Debbie Gregory.

Last month, under an agreement between the U.S. Attorney, the Chief of Pretrial Services for the Western District of Texas and the VA, a Veterans Treatment Court, the first located on a major military installation, was established at Fort Hood. This is a great veteran benefit to the many veterans in the Fort Hood area.

Also called the Veterans Endeavor for Treatment Support, the program hopes to aid veterans with service-connected mental health or substance abuse disorders to stay out of the court system. As far as veteran resources go, this one is a win-win for all.

Fort Hood was chosen because of the large veteran population surround the base. However, the program is voluntary. A variety of misdemeanor crimes will fall into the program such as driving while intoxicated, various types of assaults, property crimes and theft crimes.
Qualified veterans charged with committing misdemeanors while on Fort Hood will be eligible to participate in the pilot program designed to provide an alternative to a federal conviction. The treatment court model also builds upon the Department of Justice ‘Smart on Crime’ initiative to bolster prevention and reentry efforts to deter crime and reduce recidivism.

“This is a unique program, and so far as we know, it is the only one of its kind for offenses committed by veterans on military bases,” said Richard Durbin, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Texas.

Scheduled to begin this month, the initiative will be overseen by U.S. District Court Judge Walter Smith Jr. and run by Judge Jeffrey Manske.

Participants in the program will be under intensive supervision for approximately 12-18 months, concurrently utilizing various types of treatment depending on their circumstances. Treatment could include substance abuse, mental health, and counseling.

More than 160 of these courts exist in state and federal jurisdictions nationwide. If you know of a local Veterans’ Court in your area, please feel free to send the information to [email protected] and we will add it to our Veterans Court Resource page.

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.