Training helps disabled vets work from home


Disabled veterans are participating in a new virtual program that not only pays them $11 an hour for training on their home computers, but places them in jobs that allow them to work from home.
By Karen Jowers

The veterans are earning in the range of $15 to $22 an hour, with benefits, working from home in the information industry. They are trained for jobs such as market researchers, data managers, hot-line responders, Web site order processors, help-desk managers, customer care and service coordinators, administration and billing clerks. About 100 veterans who have completed the training so far have all been placed in jobs with companies such as The Home Depot, FedEx, JetBlue, Dell Computer, and financial services company PNC. The program is provided by the nonprofit Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation

To qualify, a veteran must have a disability rating from the Department of Veterans Affairs, and a copy of his or her DD-214. A Purple Heart award is not required.

We are now ramping up big time, said Ken Smith, program director for the Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation. They are preparing to train another 350 veterans who have applied from all over the country. Those interested should go online…  or call (800) 720-9596.

Those involved in the program range from veterans of the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, to the Korean War, age 19 to 74. To complete the training, a high-speed Internet connection is needed. The training, accredited by Northern Virginia Community College, pays $11 an hour for the 15-week, 600-hour program earning $6,600.

Students report in to the virtual classroom each morning, and as the instructor presents the material, he or she will stop if any of the students have a question, Smith said. All the students can hear the questions and answers.

Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, praised the program in a July 27 press conference. When private-sector programs are combined with government programs and opportunities, he said, we can be all that we need to be for these young veterans coming home.


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