VA to Launch New Program Aimed at Getting Vets IT Jobs

U.S. Army 1st Lt. Dat Dang and Sgt. Maurice Wendorf of the 98th Expeditionary Signal Battalion discuss the functions of a Supply Terminal Trailer at Fort Irwin, California, on May 10, 2016. The STT is a satellite that can provide online capabilities for frontline troops' computer systems anywhere in the world. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Adam Parent)
U.S. Army 1st Lt. Dat Dang and Sgt. Maurice Wendorf of the 98th Expeditionary Signal Battalion discuss the functions of a Supply Terminal Trailer at Fort Irwin, California, on May 10, 2016. The STT is a satellite that can provide online capabilities for frontline troops' computer systems anywhere in the world. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Adam Parent)

The Department of Veterans Affairs is planning the April launch of a new program aimed at placing vets in high-paying information technology (IT) jobs, with the department picking up the full tab for training and fees once the vet actually gets employment.

The Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC) program will work through what the VA is calling an "incentivized payment structure" to encourage the veteran to stay with the program to completion.

According to a VA release last week, it will pay the training provider 25 percent of tuition and mandatory fees up front, another 25 percent when the vet graduates, and the last 50 percent when the veteran "lands a job in his or her area of study and training."

A VA spokesperson said Friday that the planned payment schedule would not result in out-of-pocket expenses to the veteran. Training providers will not be able to charge veterans for tuition and fees and refund the charge after payment from the VA is received, the spokesperson said.

The VET TEC program also will not count against the veteran's GI Bill benefits, the spokesperson said. The length of the training programs will depend on the course and the provider, but the VA's market research showed that the typical course would last four to six months.

VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said in a statement that the VET TEC program is part of the department's commitment to helping veterans "make successful transitions into their post-military career. We are excited to partner with successful training providers who will help pave the way for veterans seeking meaningful employment in their field of study."

Going through the training would give veterans skills in information technology, computer software, information science, media application, data processing and the computer programming fields that they could bring to the job market, the VA said.

Under the program, enrolled veterans will receive a monthly housing stipend while in training at an as-yet-undetermined rate that would be modeled on the post-9/11 GI Bill housing rate, the VA said

The VA announcement last week invited training providers to apply to see if they meet VET TEC criteria. Once selected, they will have the benefit of having students with a military background "who are motivated, hard-working team players."

Information on VET TEC for veterans and potential training providers can be found here.

-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.

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