A just-launched Veterans Affairs Department program to train veterans for information technology jobs will be as much for older veterans -- regardless of era -- as for the twentysomethings only now re-entering the civilian workforce, the VA says.
The pilot Accelerated Learning Programs, which are being held in several sites around the country, have been set up in such a way to expedite employment once training is ended and follow-up to determine longer term success, according to Rosye Cloud, Senior Advisor for Veteran Employment and Acting Director for the Office of Transition, Employment and Economic Impact.
"We wanted to run a strong pilot [program], looking at our veterans at the VA, and our mission at VA is to support all-era veterans," Cloud said. "We'll be pulling from the population that's looking to be in the labor market" regardless of era.
Officials have already pulled in enough applications for the program and are now screening them. It will be a few weeks before the finalists are selected. The training will be provided by seven companies – some online and others in classrooms at several locations, among these San Antonio, Texas, St. Louis, Mo., Seattle, Wash., and Washington, DC.
In developing the pilot program the VA drew on data from the Labor Department showing a continuing employer demand for IT skills that typically require less than six months of dedicated training, Cloud said. These are not traditional education programs that would be covered by the GI Bill "because they change very rapidly, they're said to be extremely agile and kind of geared toward an adult learner."
The training is free for the veteran participants -- the costs covered by VA -- and does not count against GI Bill education benefits.
The VA covers the costs in three payments. A third of the tuition is paid when the veteran is enrolled, another third when they complete the course and the final amount upon moving into a job, Cloud said.
"One of the key criteria in the acquisitions process is we wanted programs that would demonstrate an active employer networks engaged in job-placement outcomes as part of their operation," she said. "We want to make sure our veterans are not just participating in [job training] opportunities but they are coming out of that employable and with a robust network looking at them."
The program will also follow veterans after their initial job placement to monitor their employment, including changes or advancements, she said.
Bryant Jordan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.