Give your career a jumpstart with the help of the Education, Incentives and Employment Office

Story by David Altom, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

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OPEN THE DOOR TO SUCCESS by taking advantage of the education and employment opportunities made available to you through the National Guard (File photo)

FRANKFORT, Ky. – One of the great things about being in the military, aside from wearing cool uniforms and getting trained to do things that most other people cannot even imagine, is the range of benefits that “Uncle Sugar” makes available to the troops.  Among the most valuable of all those benefits available are the ones that provide education and employment opportunities.

Lt. Col. Allen Boone and his Education, Incentives and Employment team are committed to making sure that all of Kentucky’s Citizen Soldiers and Families get access to the full spectrum of the available benefits and services .

“The opportunity to increase the level of support to our Soldiers and their families is our utmost goal,” said Boone.  “Our mission is to daily become more effect and efficient in our job so to provide the highest level of quality support for education as well as employment.  This includes incentives for student loan repayment and bonuses for our Guard members.”

Boone’s team wants to inspire not just the Soldiers, but Family members as well to achieve a higher level of success than they’ve ever had before.

“We want them to take advantage of the huge amount of educational benefits that are available to them,” he said.

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Ltc. Allen Boone and Sgt. 1st Class Jessica Peele have a passion for helping Soldiers jump start their careers through education, employment and incentives offered by the National Guard. (Photo by David Altom, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs)

Boone and his team are working hard to market their services and get the word out on the opportunities available to Guard members and their Families.  Websites and social media tools such as Facebook have now become part of that process.

Some of the most attractive features about signing on with the Kentucky National Guard are the enlistment incentives and education benefits.

“The maximum enlistment incentive is $15,000,” said Sgt. Matthew Boone, state incentives manager.  “The average bonus awarded is around $2,500, depending on where a recruit goes, the need for that particular job skill, available slots, unit strength and other factors.”

Current members of the Guard can also receive extension bonuses of up to $10,000 depending on their eligibility.

Education incentives include the Montgomery GI Bill, federal tuition assistance, state tuition assistance and the aptly named “kicker.”

But what if you’ve already graduated from college?  Don’t worry about it – the National Guard has something to offer you, too, in the form of college loan repayment programs.

“We spend a lot of time on loan repayments,” said Sgt. Boone.  “With the increase of this program to $50,000, that is very popular right now.”

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Sgt. Matt Boone and Capt. Melissa Mattingly discuss incentives available to Kentucky National Guard Soldiers. (Photo by David Altom, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs)

Preparing troops for civilian employment is the other side of the coin.  Without jobs part-time troops can become distracted and unhappy, and they may even decide to leave the service.  Stable, productive employment builds a strong, resilient force of motivated Soldiers capable of deploying overseas in time of war or here at home during natural disasters and emergencies.

“Education and employment go hand in glove,” said Lt. Col. Boone.  “We work very closely with Kentucky Employer Support of Guard and Reserve in putting out job announcements and training seminars.  We want to do everything possible to increase the marketability of our troops in this challenging economy.”

But it’s not just the individual Soldier that the Guard can help; another program Boone’s team runs is Education After High School, which targets the children of Guard members.

“This program helps Guard youth identify the opportunities that are available to them after high school,” he said.  “Whether it’s a two or four year college, vocational or trade school or apprenticeship programs that lead to full-time employment, we can help them find their direction.”

There are requirements that must be met, of course.  Troops applying for state tuition assistance must meet all physical fitness and height/weight standards and they must not be flagged.  Applicants for the Montgomery GI Bill also have their rules.  But not to worry – the Education Office can help guide you through the process to make sure you know what’s expected.

“With the benefits we now have there is no financial reason for our people not to get their college degree and advance their civilian career and pursue a great military career,” said Sgt. 1st Class Jessica Peel, Education Incentives and Employment NCOIC.  “I come from a customer service background and I love helping people figure out what they need and connecting them with the right resources.

“I’ve seen our Soldiers give so much every day and this is a chance for us to give back to them.”

For more information on Kentucky National Guard education benefits and incentives call 502-607-1307 or email ky-kg-dcsper-ed@ng.army.mil

Also, visit the following links:

Federal Tuition Assistance

State Tuition Assistance:

ARNG Education Web Site

Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges

Montgomery GI Bill

VA Online Application for Benefits

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