G.I. Jobs Latest Issues

JAN 2019

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18 G.I. JOBS | JANUARY 2019 | GIJOBS.COM programs through increased productivity, reduced waste and greater innovation. YOU CAN USE YOUR GI BILL For transitioning service members and veterans, apprenticeships can be an ideal path to a rewarding civilian career. Even with the GI Bill, earning a four-year college degree can put a financial strain on military families. Earning a good wage while they train – the pay increases throughout the program – is an option worth considering. Approximately 48,000 veterans are participating in a DOL registered apprenticeship. There's another advantage for prior military. Veterans can use the GI Bill to draw a monthly housing allowance (MHA) during their apprenticeship. The MHA decreases every six months as the apprenticeship progresses, but that's offset by the increasing wages. HEAD START Some service members have the opportunity to get apprentice training even before they leave active duty through programs like the United Service Military Apprenticeship Program (USMAP) and the Career Skills Program/ SkillBridge. Joe Pineiro took advantage of a program stood up by three sheet metal unions. An Army aircraft electrician who deployed to Afghanistan, Pineiro decided to pursue a career in construction when he separated after six years of service. He learned about the SMART Heroes program from his transition counselor at Joint Base Lewis-McCord near Tacoma, Wash. The full- time, seven-week program provides sheet metal industry training prior to discharge. Participants learn the basics of the sheet metal trade – a skilled, technical craft that works with other tradespeople to construct commercial, industrial and residential buildings. Graduates are placed as second-year apprentices in one of 148 apprenticeship programs throughout the country. "It appealed to me because it showed me a field that was new to me and introduced me to the union side of construction. It also included many benefits I was seeking, and gave me training before I even left the military," he said. "Also, with the apprenticeship program I am able to draw from my Post-9/11 GI Bill to make up the difference in pay from separating." Pineiro, 32, graduated from the SMART Heroes program in December 2017 and began working as a second-year apprentice in his home town of Rochester, N.Y. "Transitioning back was not easy," he said. "I'm still feeling the ripples, but this program made it easier for me to get into a profession and maintain benefits comparable to what I gave up by separating." Kevin Thomas started out as an apprentice. After 20 years as a union sheet metal worker, he became an instructor for the SMART Heroes program when it launched in July 2017. "There is a shortage of labor throughout the country and our veterans needed jobs. It just seemed like the perfect fit," he said. The program has since graduated seven classes, with about 15 soldiers in each cohort. Thomas said journeyman sheet metal workers typically earn PHOTOS COURTESY OF SMART HEROES

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