The Army’s official non-profit organization provides grants and interest-free loans to transitioning soldiers

Army Emergency Relief is the official nonprofit association of the United States military. The organization was founded by then-Secretary of War Henry Stimson and Army Chief of Staff General George Marshall in 1942 as the United States entered the Second World War.

The nonprofit offers programs for eligible soldiers, spouses, and even retirees on active and reserve duty who meet certain criteria, for things like PCS travel, home repairs, and even spousal recertifications. .

Most important for soldiers retiring or separating from the military is ARE’s support of the military’s vocational skills program. The nonprofit has now committed $3 million in grants to help soldiers improve their options as they transition to civilian employment through the Army Vocational Skills Program.

Since 2015, the Army Career Skills Program (CSP) has enabled soldiers to participate in pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship projects, on-the-job training, internships, job shadowing and other training programs. skills development and civilian training during their last 180 days of service.

Eligible civilian CSP training opportunities must be accredited with a federal agency or comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act. They must also be of minimal cost to the government or soldier, guarantee a job interview, have a high probability of employment, and the job must offer compensation commensurate with the job requirements.

During their CSP training, soldiers will continue to earn their full salary and benefits, but cannot receive pay while participating. This could make it difficult for troops traveling long distances to attend a program, especially those coming from overseas duty stations.

Army Emergency Relief provides grant assistance of up to $2,000 to soldiers who participate in an approved job skills program. These grants can cover travel expenses, work clothing and supplies, accommodation or utilities, and food during the training.

Since its inception, the ARE as a whole has assisted four million soldiers with interest-free loans, grants and scholarships to the tune of $2 billion, half of which came in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. It is overseen by an Executive Committee which includes retired Army Generals and the Army Sergeant Major. It has already disbursed $1 million of its pledged $3 million to support soldiers in job skills programs.

ARE assistance is not determined by the association itself, but rather approved by the soldier’s chain of command. Soldiers can apply for the grant from two weeks before their job skills program start date until their separation date.

For more advice and how to apply, see the Professional Skills Program information sheet. Assistance is not available to members of other branches of the armed forces.

— Blake Stilwell can be reached at [email protected] It can also be found on Twitter @blakestilwell or on Facebook.

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