Troops to Tractors is our program connecting Veterans to farmer-mentors in PA for on-the-job training.
If you're eligible for VA educational benefits we can facilitate the approval process with the state that will allow you to access your benefits for a 6-24 month OJT apprenticeship.Using your VA educational benefits, you'll receive a stipend while in training based on the housing allowance for that area, and small books allowance.
Or, if you have a VA disability rating of at least 20% you may qualify for Vocational Rehabilitation. Voc Rehab has several tracks, including an OJT option. If you qualify for both programs, you may opt to use the program that provides better benefits.
Apprentices in both VA approved OJT and Voc Rehab OJT are paid. The salary will most likely depend on your skills and experience, the demands of the job, and what the farm can afford.The VA would like there to be a reasonable expectation that the apprentice will be hired at the end of training.
Both of these programs are for learning entry-level skills on the farm or at an agribusiness. Currently there is an approved training program for veterans elibigle for VA benefits at Dillner Farm in Gibsonia (Allegheny CO), as example.
If you've established a relationship with a local farmer in a position to hire a paid apprentice, we can explain the program to him/her and help the farmer-mentor navigate the approval process. Or, we can help you research a farm that might be in a position to hire. We can offer guidance to help you determine whether or not that particular farm would be a good place to learn. A working interview may be a good idea to see if the farm is a good fit. A good mentor knows more than farming—he or she has the skills to lead and teach you, good communication skills, values hiring Veterans for their proven positive qualities, and possesses a sincere desire to pass on knowledge to the next generation of farmers.
We strongly advise a written agreement between the mentor-farmer and the apprentice to avoid any misunderstandings, and for the protection of both parties. While the VA doesn’t require this, it’s just plain smart.
Have questions? Let our Coordinator help. 724-691-1087 or firstname.lastname@example.org