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Editor's Note:  Our guest blogger is John Gaal, Director of Training & Workforce Development Carpenters' District Council and was a panelist at the Action Clinics this past year.  Check out what John has to say about the World Skills event he attended...

A little more than one week ago, I had the honor and privilege of attending the World Skills 2009 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. What an experience! The opening day of competition was Wednesday, September 2. Local news stations claimed upwards of 150k people in attendance. With nearly 900 participants and over 50 countries represented, secondary and post-secondary Career and Technical Education (CTE) students represented their industries proudly! In my opinion, there were no losers.

The World Team from SkillsUSA was made up of 16 students…three of which came from the ranks of Registered Apprenticeship. Kudos to the United Association (Pipefitters, Plumbers, etc.) and their representatives. More specifically, congratulations to Mr. Joe Young for earning a Silver Medal in Welding. Once again, I cannot stress the importance of linking secondary CTE students to post-secondary Apprenticeship Programs. We have the US President and Secretary of Education touting the value of CTE as a post-secondary education option…it's time for the Registered Apprenticeship Community to seize the opportunity!   

Please see the photos below for a taste of the eclectic atmosphere.

         
I used the GI Bill when I was discharged from the military some 40 years ago after serving in Vietnam and coming home a Disabled Veteran, and sought help from the VA for Vocational Rehab and GI bill Benefits.  I became a carpenter apprentice and received GI Bill benefits which gave me a few extra dollars while being trained.

GI Bill Apprenticeship and OJT Program.  The following will guide you on the use of the GI Bill On-the-Job Training and Apprenticeship Program and explain the recently increased 2008-2009 payment rates.

  • 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 $990.75 a month ($237.75 for Reserve/Guard) tax-free, on top of your regular salary! That's over $12,000 in cash benefits over two years, for training in an OJT or apprenticeship training program.
  • 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 $990.75 a month for the first six months of training, $726.55 for the second six months of training and $462.35 for remaining training.
  • VA pays GI Bill Selected Reserve participants on a similar scale but at the following reduced rates; $237.75 a month for the first six months of training, $174.35 for the second six months of training and $110.95 for remaining training. Selected Reserve participants.

Qualifying Jobs

  • 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


  • Pirelli Tire Co.
  • Proctor & Gable Co.
  • Merck Pharmaceuticals
  • Cessna Aircraft
  • Gulfstream Aerospace Corp.
  • Lockheed Martin Corp.
  • Bell South
  • World Toyota
  • Comcast
  • Pratt and Whitney Engine Co.
  • Law enforcement (police, sheriff, State Patrol)
  • Dept. of Corrections (prisons, detention centers)
  • Local Fire Departments

Eligibility

  • 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.

Related Links

New GI Bill, Not Michael Vick

FRA Names 2009 Scholarship Winners

More Than 600 Military Kids Awarded Scholarships

Post 9/11 GI Bill Application Process

New GI Bill Transferability Options Announced

New Post-911 GI Bill Calculator

Sound Off...What do you think? Join the discussion...

 

Rich Davy, Senior Field Representative from Minnesota saw materials for an economic development campaign called- "The 3/50 Project" Saving the Bricks and Mortars our Nation was Built On.

Rich is working on communication strategies about apprenticeship and thought that this was an excellent example for economic development and is the kind of approach that could be used as well for workforce development/apprenticeship.

Does anyone know about this campaign or who was responsible for this initiative including the communications or advertising firm?


This short video of electrician apprentices was interesting.  I enjoyed seeing how the apprentices were able to have so much hands on training.  As an apprentice myself, I know that the hands on factor is the best way to learn.  In these types of fields you can read all the books you want to on a given topic, but until you actually put that knowledge into real motion it is hard to grasp what you are learning.  Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that the books are not helpful, but hands on experiences allow you to think, feel and do all at the same time.

Tori Huggins

Check out this great article on Registered Apprenticeship in this month’s Techniques magazine- Registered Apprenticeship: Stepping up to the President's Challenge.

Techniques targets over 30,000 teachers and school administrators.  In addition, this publication reaches the Career and Technical Student Organizations; in some cases these students are also members of Future Business Leaders of American, and Future Farmers of America.