New Army Emergency Relief Grants Help Soldiers Build Post-Military Life Skills
Leaving the military can be difficult for some soldiers who have spent their entire professional careers in the military.
The service has made quite a bit of progress with its Soldier For Life campaign to help service members get back on their feet when they finally leave the military, but some of these programs can be prohibitive.
Army Emergency Relief (AER), the service’s official nonprofit, is trying to change that by providing $ 3 million in grants to soldiers in 2022 for the Career Skills Program (CSP).
The initiative places soldiers on apprenticeships, shadows or training from companies that team up with the military, in the hope that a soldier will be hired when he leaves the service.
âIt’s good for the military, but it’s also good for the business,â Scott Wilder, financial aid administrator at AER, told Federal News Network. “They get pretty skilled military people who have a lot of qualities that you inherently learn in the military, like time management and organizational skills.”
However, some of the CSP opportunities can be expensive, requiring equipment, travel, or other investments like work clothing. Additionally, in the past, soldiers were limited to geographic CSP opportunities near them. Now, with the new grants, the AER hopes to help more soldiers join the CSP and take the training of their choice.
The grants give $ 500 to soldiers attending the PSC near their home base, $ 1,000 to soldiers traveling long distances and $ 1,500 to those coming from overseas.
The Army allows soldiers approximately six months to work in the CSP program.
âCSP skills can range from driving trucks to mechanics, to auto body repair, to computer programming,â Wilder said.
He added that AER is starting to see increased interest in grants.
The AER comes to the aid of the soldiers just after the Second World War.
“The goal of the AER is to help service members, retirees and their families, including survivors, with assistance in times of urgent need or desperation,” Wilder said. âIn my opinion, we are truly an evolving organization and we have 34 categories of support. “
These include help with medical bills or car loans.
Soldiers can also visit one of the sister service relief organizations for assistance.
More recently, the AER has assisted soldiers affected by COVID issues. Moving and housing have become more expensive.
While the organization is even helping soldiers keep their pets during the pandemic, the AER will provide loans or grants of up to $ 5,500 to help the military take their furry friends overseas.