Did You Know You Can Use Your GI Bill for On-the-Job Training Programs?
If you’re reading this I’d say it’s safe to assume you are or were involved in some branch of the US Military, as I was. I am a Veteran of the US Air Force and was deployed during the Cold War. Most of my deployment was spent in Germany where I was stationed for 5 years.
While stationed in Germany I had the wonderful opportunity of exploring the country where I eventually met my beautiful wife of 35 years. At the conclusion of my service, I opted to stay another year in Germany to work on the pig farm my wife’s father and my future father-in-law owned and operated. Eventually, I yearned to return to my beloved homeland, the good ‘ol USA.
So, my wife and I said farewell to Germany and moved to California to begin our lives together. Times were different then and many of the opportunities afforded to Vets now, weren’t around for me to capitalize on.
And this brings me to the purpose of this article; to ensure all vets returning from active duty are fully aware of how I believe your GI Bill can be best utilized, and that’s in conjunction with an OJT program.
Why You Should Use your GI Bill for an On-the-Job Training Program
When I returned stateside in the early ’80s, I opted to further my education by using my GI bill to help me get through community college and earn an Associate Degree. At that time, there was still a lot of value in just having an AA degree alone. It opened doors for me to obtain employment in Silicon Valley with a handsome “family-sustaining” career.
I was filled with gratitude and appreciation that my GI Bill helped me elevate myself to this level of success and allow me to adequately support my wife and 2 children soon to come.
As most of you know, in the year 2019, getting an AA degree is comparable to a high school degree and merely a stepping stone to move on pursuing a Bachelors Degree. To the dismay of many that have chosen this route, once securing your Bachelor’s Degree, you find that if you really want to achieve the pinnacle of success, you need to spend another 2-3 years in pursuit of a Masters Degree.
So after 7-8 years of schooling and a sizeable amount of debt, your GI Bill stopped assisting you with a while ago, you can finally pursue the job of your dreams. I’m not saying this is a bad route for anyone to take, by any means. But for someone that’s already met the love of their life and is expecting children or already has children, you need money now. And going the long-term schooling route will definitely be exceedingly challenging.
Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion
As I’m sure you can tell in the tone of this article so far, I’ve grown quite disillusioned with the education establishment for a number of reasons.
- Costs for education are outrageous
- Having a degree doesn’t guarantee job security
- The American Economy needs more skilled workers
I found this excerpt on the Department of Labor website in regards to the Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion. For those of you that don’t know, this was an executive order made by President Trump in April 2017 that really elucidates the need for the American Economy to fill the massive skills gap currently in our country. The official executive summary is as follows:
“While apprenticeships are a proven pathway to middle- and high-skilled jobs, apprentices comprise only 0.2 percent of the United States labor force, substantially less than in Canada (2.2 percent), Britain (2.7 percent), and Germany (3.7 percent).1 Some industries with defined career pathways, such as construction and building trades, have embraced apprenticeship’s earn-as-you-learn approach, which combines job-related technical instruction with a structured, paid, work-based learning component.
As job growth surges in other key sectors, such as information technology, advanced manufacturing, health care, and financial services, there is increasing interest in those sectors in adopting this approach.”
Due to this executive action taken on behalf of President Trump, there has NEVER been a better time to use your GI Bill for an On-the-Job Training program.
Earn While You Learn with Your GI Bill
With your Gi Bill, you can enhance your employment opportunities by acquiring a skill or trade through on-the-job training or apprenticeships. Often, these programs involve signing a training contract for a specified length of time with a union or employer. At the conclusion of the period of OJT, journeyman status achieved or a job certification is issued. Veterans primarily receive a salary from their union or employer during OJT. As your abilities excel, your salary does as well. Payments from your GI Bill are sent out on a monthly basis after VA obtains confirmation of hours worked from your union or employer.
With your GI Bill, you receive one hundred percent of the monthly housing allowance for your first 6 months of training. As mentioned previously, as your skills increase, so does your salary from your union or employer. Therefore; the succeeding 6 months of training you receive eighty percent of your housing allowance, then sixty percent for the third 6 months, and so on and so forth until you’ve received your job certification or become a journeyman and start making those big $$$!
OJT & Apprenticeship Programs Vets are utilizing with their GI Bill
There are so many options for on-the-job and apprenticeship available. Some of those opportunities include:
- Bell South
- Union plumber
- Cessna Aircraft
- Hotel management
- Proctor & Gamble Co.
- Lockheed Martin Corp.
- Merck Pharmaceuticals
- Gulfstream Aerospace Corp.
- Pratt and Whitney Engine Co.
- Law enforcement (police, sheriff, State Patrol)
- Dept. of Corrections (prisons, detention centers)
- Department of Homeland Security (customs & immigration officers)
- Local Union Joint Apprenticeship & Training Commissions (Carpenters, Linemen, Electricians, Pipefitters, Roofers, HVAC, etc.)
Career seekers rely on OJT for the newest apprenticeship training programs across the nation
You may be thinking my opinion on this matter is biased due to being the owner of OJT.com but and there may be some validity to that to an extent. But I assure you, had I been a vet returning from active duty in the year 2019, I would have definitely applied my GI Bill towards an apprenticeship or On-the-Job training program due to all the incentives the Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion has created.
I strongly encourage you to take a look at our directory of training providers and explore your options for OJT near you!