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Services to help veterans you may not know about

The Department of Veterans Affairs has new programs to help veterans that many don't know about yet.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Alan Marnick is beginning a new job in Jacksonville and he's pumped up. 

"I wouldn't have had this job if not for the VA," Marnick said.

He said his training at ACI Learning Cyber Security and IT in Jacksonville was totally paid for by the VA. 

In the military he worked as a construction mechanic; however, when he heard about how the VA would pay for his tuition, he hopped on the chance.

"I was just so interested in the material and so happy I could have this opportunity," he said.

Charmain Bogue, Executive Director, VA Education Service, wants veterans to know about new opportunities from the VA. She said the VA will pay your tuition and give you money for housing during your training.   

"On the average, individuals coming through are obtaining an opportunity within 60 days and the jobs are paying on the average of $60,000," Bogue said.

Credit: Marnick serving in the military

VET TEC PROGRAM 

The VA is allowing more people into this program now, and you can apply on the VA website.  Tap here for a link to see if you qualify.

Another VA program Bogue wants to tell veterans about is called VRRAP, also known as the Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program.

VRRAP PROGRAM 

"So let's say a veteran was employed at a company and got laid off in the pandemic," Bogue said. "Now they're thinking, 'I need to up my job skills and get back into the job market.'" 

VRRAP will pay for a year of tuition and fees and give you a housing allowance each month. Bogue said so far, 4,000 veterans have applied.

The program encourages training in high-demand jobs. Bogue mentioned both IT and medical or health professional jobs are among the jobs in highest demand.

You can tap here for a full list of the high-demand jobs.

According to the VA's website, to qualify you must be: 

  • At least 22 years old, but not older than 66, and
  • Unemployed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and
  • Not rated as totally disabled because you can't work, and
  • Not enrolled in a federal or state jobs program

For more information on VRRAP, tap on this link.

UNUSED EDUCATIONAL BENEFITS 

Bogue also wants veterans to know about changes in the GI Bill to allow veterans to transfer unused education benefits to dependents, step-children and family.  

Let's say Jane is on active duty. Her husband, Bob, is a civilian and wants to train to be a paramedic.

"She can transfer her benefits to her husband or her children," Bogue said. "She can split it if you have two kids who want to go to college. They can split those benefits between her husband and two children."

However, Bogue says you must apply before you leave military service to share your unused educational benefits.

Credit: Marnick with his SEABEE military group