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GI Bill Offers Veterans Tax Free Money For OJT/Apprenticeship Programs
  ATLANTA - Most veterans know they can use their GI Bill to pay for the costs of their college education.

"Many veterans are not aware that they can use their GI Bill benefits in on-the-job training and apprenticeship programs with most businesses," points out Georgia Commissioner of Veterans Affairs Pete Wheeler. "These programs are excellent ways to enable a veteran to acquire a skill under the supervision of an experienced worker in a practical "hands-on" way."

During job training, a newly hired veteran employee, if eligible, can receive up to $13,212 tax-free supplemental income from his GI Bill during a two-year, experience-based training program. National Guardsmen and reservists may also be eligible if they are currently under a six-year contract or qualify for the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP) by having been called to active duty for at least 90 consecutive days since September 11, 2001.

Also eligible to apply for OJT/Apprenticeship benefits are the spouse and dependents of a veteran with a 100% VA disability rating.

"Employers can also benefit from this," Wheeler said. "The monetary benefits a veteran receives should motivate that individual to perform at a higher level and, in turn, enhance business operations." There are no direct payments to the employer. Payments are made directly to the veteran and are intended to serve as a salary supplement during the training period.

"Veterans typically are experienced, mature, and disciplined individuals with positive work habits," Commissioner Wheeler observed. "They have proven employment histories, learn quickly, are highly motivated and follow instructions well."

To use GI Bill benefits while enrolled in an on-the-job-training (OJT) or apprenticeship program (APP), a veteran must work 30 hours or more, full time employment, during the workweek and the employer must agree to establish the program.

"Employers direct the training, thereby ensuring the veteran becomes familiar with job tasks, equipment, and company policies," according to Bill Jung, Director of Georgia's State Approving Agency (SAA). "However, the employee's training must meet the standards established by federal regulations."

Approved training programs are evaluated annually by SAA representatives to determine their initial and continued compliance with the federal regulations.

"When employers participate in this program, they have a more content, stable, and better-compensated employee; and have a better chance of retaining that person," said Jung.

OJT and apprenticeship programs may be approved in a wide variety of occupations. Some are in trades that relate to military occupations, but many are not. Some of the currently approved programs include administration, law enforcement, diesel mechanics, electronics, and plumbing. Most OJT or apprenticeship programs can be submitted for approval consideration.

The Georgia Department of Veterans Service's State Approving Agency has responsibility for approving OJT and apprenticeship programs for Georgia veterans.

For additional information about OJT/Apprenticeship programs in Georgia, veterans or employers can contact Jung at 404-656-2306 or e-mail him at saaga@mindspring.com.

For more information about the OJT/Apprenticeship programs and other state benefits provided to Georgia veterans visit the SDVS website at www.sdvs.georgia.gov.


 











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