NHCD Earns 2019-2020 Military Friendly® School DesignationFebruary 13, 2019
Too many returning veterans miss out on the opportunity to train for a new civilian career simply because they are not aware of what tuition and housing benefits they are eligible for. One call to a New Horizons Career Development Counselor could change all that.
There are many questions for those returning from the military and perhaps the one question that is of most concern is what they’re going to do for a living in the civilian world.
Many quickly realize that the skills they’ve learned while serving are very valuable but won’t necessarily qualify them for any specific job in and of themselves. Realizing that they need to add skills they think “if only I could afford training that would qualify me for a good job…”
But they may be able to afford it and not know it.
“Many times we meet veterans who are down and out because they feel they have no chance at a decent future,” explains John Matczynski, Jr., Army Veteran and Senior Military Career Consultant for the Workforce Development department of New Horizons Computer Learning Centers. “We ask them a few questions and often discover that they have plenty of benefits available to them to pay for tuition and even their housing while taking classes.”
Smiling, Matczynski adds, “You should see them jump out of their chairs for joy!”
Do You Qualify for Benefits?
The questions New Horizons asks are really very simple:
- Are you a veteran from active duty? Reserve? National Guard?
- How many years did you serve?
- Did you leave the service after 9/11/2001?
- Have you already used any of your benefits?
- Are you currently employed?
Answers to the first four questions help the Career Counselor determine what benefits you are eligible for, and for how much of the costs. The last question helps them help you figure out how to schedule classes around your work commitments.
What Kind of Benefits are Available?
The Veterans Administration makes two basic programs available to returning veterans.
The Post-911 GI Bill is for any servicemember who separated from the service after 9/11/2001 and provides access to specifically authorized courses at approved schools for up to 36 months. It also pays veterans a Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) based on the zip code of the qualifying school they’re attending. There is basically little or no out-of-pocket expense for the veteran for tuition and housing during their training.
Matczynski, a Certifying Individual for the Veterans Administration for more than seven years, says that the two most often asked questions from veterans are whether the GI bill will pay for their tuition, and whether they can receive full BAH benefits for attending the school they wish to. Based on how many years they served and other elements, that answer can very often be “yes!”
The Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment (VR&E) provides educational benefits for disabled veterans to help them prepare for new employment. For this program, the VA determines a “disability percentage” and justification to provide the right level of benefits to pay for educational services. Justification is based on things like the degree to which your disability limits your ability to perform your customary duties, creating a need for new training.
What Kind of Jobs Are Available?
Manufacturing, financial services, customer service, healthcare, data and network security and many more. VA-Approved courses at New Horizons include career development training for several industries as well as technology training applicable to a wide range of business and industrial environments.
What Do Employers Look For?
Many employers simply think its good to hire veterans because they are highly trainable, adaptable, and professional. Veterans appreciate the importance of showing up on time, doing their job, and respecting their employer.
Employers also enjoy tax breaks when hiring veterans, and many proactively market the fact that they hire veterans to promote their business.
Veterans should remember, however, that many hiring managers have never served in the military and are not familiar with some of the terms you may use regularly, nor the value of what you’ve learned during your time in the service. New Horizons helps you to “civilianize” your experience so hiring managers understand your value far better.
Your Next Step
John Matczynski Jr. acknowledges that there are “many moving parts” when leaving the military, and they don’t do the best job of informing veterans regarding their available benefits. His advice to veterans is that they think about using their benefits to do things that are good for the long-term. Ask yourself whether the course your taking will be valuable to you four or five years from now.
The next step is to call a New Horizons Career Counselor to determine your eligibility and start planning your future.