A new state-sponsored on-the-job training program allows veterans to use their military benefits while obtaining useful job skills on a farm.
An expansion of the state Division of Veterans’ Affairs’ On-the-Job Training initiative, the program is for service veterans interested in careers in the agricultural industry. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced its launch in November.
Assisted by the Cornell Small Farms Program, state officials in October selected Kreher’s Poultry Farm, a family farm in Clarence in western New York, as the first farm in the state to offer the program to veterans. Additional farms across the state are encouraged to apply to participate in the program.
Veterans looking to apply for a position at Kreher’s, a leading egg operation and the state’s largest organic grain producer, can apply online here.
State officials said on-the job training through the veterans’ affairs agency previously was used almost exclusively by electricians, plumbers and other skilled trades. During their training, veterans are paid wages by their employer and also receive their military housing allowance through their GI Bill benefits to help offset the cost of living.
Interested farms must submit an application and training outline to the Division of Veterans’ Affairs. The outline should include skills that will be learned and duties the veteran will complete during training. Staff with Cornell Small Farms will assist farmers in applying for the program.
State officials said training will last from six months to two years and farms should be in a position to hire the veteran full-time at the end of their training.
Once an application is approved, Cornell Small Farms will help match those farms with interested veterans.
Farmers interested in offering the training are asked to contact Cornell education support specialist Dean Koyanagi at firstname.lastname@example.org or 607-255-9911.