If you are a veteran or currently in the guard or reserve, the On-The-Job Training (OJT) Program offers you an alternative way to use your VA (GI Bill) education and training benefits. The following is a summary of these GI Bill alternatives.
When you are trained for a new job, you can receive monthly training benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in addition to your regular salary. This means that you can receive up to $1104.75 a month ($258.75 for Reserve/Guard) tax-free, on top of your regular salary! That's over $13,000 in cash benefits over two years, for training in an OJT or apprenticeship training program. (New Rates Effective Oct. 1, 2011)
VA pays veteran GI Bill participants on a scale depending on the amount of time they are enrolled in the program. For example the program currently pays $1104.75 a month for the first six months of training, $810.15 for the second six months of training and $515.55 for remaining training.
VA pays GI Bill Selected Reserve participants on a similar scale but at the following reduced rates; $258.75 a month for the first six months of training, $189.75 for the second six months of training and $120.75 for remaining training. Selected Reserve participants.
To qualify, your job must meet the following criteria:
- You must be supervised at least 50 percent of the time.
- Job training must lead to an entry-level position. (Management training programs do not qualify.)
- You must be a full-time paid employee — not on commission.
- Your training must be documented and reported.
- You cannot have previous experience job experience in that field.
- You must be recently hired (within one to two years).
- The job must require at least six months training to become fully trained.
- The employer may be private, local or state government.
Companies Who Participate in the Apprenticeship Program
Here is a list of well-known companies who participate in the VA's Apprenticeship Program:
- Pirelli Tire Co.
- Proctor & Gable Co.
- Merck Pharmaceuticals
- Cessna Aircraft
- Gulfstream Aerospace Corp.
- Lockheed Martin Corp.
- Bell South
- World Toyota
- Pratt and Whitney Engine Co.
- Law enforcement (police, sheriff, State Patrol)
- Dept. of Corrections (prisons, detention centers)
- Local Fire Departments
You may be eligible if you are eligible for the GI Bill either under the Active Duty (Veteran) or Reserve GI Bill programs and:
- You are no longer on active duty
- You were recently hired or promoted
- You left active duty less than 10 years ago or
- You are currently a member of the Guard or Reserve (Reserve GI Bill)
So, if you are qualified for the GI Bill and you have started a new job or apprenticeship program, you should apply for this little known GI Bill benefit. In some cases, the VA will even pay retroactively for OJT from the past 12 months.
Note: You may not receive GI Bill OJT benefits at the same time you receive the GI Bill education benefits.
Take the Next Step
Your next step should be to contact your nearest VA Regional Office or local State Approving Agency (SAA). Your SAA will help you get started on the process and answer any questions you may have.