Hiring a veteran is not only patriotic, but can have big financial advantages for employers.

It is well-known that most current veterans qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill to pay for the costs of college education.

However, as Georgia Commissioner of Veterans Service Mike Roby points out, “What’s not well known, especially within the business community, is that veterans can use their GI Bill benefits in a training and apprenticeship program with most businesses.”

Employers throughout Georgia are encouraged to hire veterans as part of an “experience-based” On-the-Job Training and Apprenticeship programs established under the GI Bill. These programs pay eligible, newly-hired veterans up to $28,828 in tax-free supplemental income over a two-year period.

“These programs are excellent ways to enable a veteran to acquire a skill under the supervision of an experienced worker in a practical “hands-on” way,” says Commissioner Roby.

The employer’s potential benefit?

“The monetary benefits a veteran receives should motivate that individual to perform at a higher level and enhance business operations,” says Commissioner Roby.

“Veterans are typically experienced, mature, and disciplined individuals with positive work habits,” Commissioner Roby observed. “They have proven employment histories, learn quickly, are highly motivated, and follow instructions well.”

National Guardsmen and Reservists are also eligible to apply for the program if they are “under a six-year contract” or qualify for the Reserve Educational Assistance Program or the Post-9/11 GI Bill (i.e., have at least 90 days of aggregate active duty service after September 10, 2001).

It is also a benefit that spouses and dependents of veterans with a 100 percent VA disability rating or who died on active duty may qualify for.

OJT and apprenticeship programs may be approved in a wide variety of occupations. Some are in trades that relate to military occupations, but many are not. Some of the currently approved programs include administration, law enforcement, diesel mechanics, electronics, and plumbing. Most programs can be submitted for approval consideration.

The beneficiary must work 30 hours or more per week in a full-time position while being supervised in an entry-level job to qualify for the payment. Payments are made directly to the veteran or eligible family member as a “salary supplement.”

“The employer establishes the job program and directs the training, so thereby ensuring the veteran becomes familiar with job tasks, equipment, and company policies,” according to Larry Edwards, Director of Georgia’s State Approving Agency (SAA). “However, the employee’s training must meet the standards established by federal regulations.”

The employer must complete a simple application as the first step.

Approved training programs are evaluated annually by SAA representatives to determine their initial and continued compliance with federal regulations.

“When employers participate in this program, they have a more content, stable, and better-compensated employee; and have a better chance of retaining that person,” said Edwards.

The Georgia Department of Veterans Service’s State Approving Agency has responsibility for approving OJT and apprenticeship programs for Georgia veterans.

Visit veterans.georgia.gov/veterans-education-training-division or contact Larry Edwards at 404-656-2306 or saaga@vs.state.ga.us for an application and additional information.

Key Points to Remember:

  • Veteran must be eligible for the GI Bill; Education Benefits
  • It must be a full-time, entry-level job, under supervision;
  • Veteran must be recently hired (within a year);
  • Job must require at least six months to learn, or become fully trained
  • Employer must provide a projected wage increase some time during the program (6-24 months, depending on the nature of the job);
  • Employer must supervise veteran, but no formal training is required;
  • Benefit amount varies with veteran’s eligibility, but a typical veteran who completed a three-year active duty enlistment would initially receive up to $1,716 per month, depending on the zip code of the employer.

For more information about VA’s Education Benefits & Services go to www.gibill.va.gov or call 1-888-442-4551.