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      Dayton Proposal Expands Support for Minnesota Veterans

      Posted on November 10, 2011 at 1:38 PM

      Today, Governor Dayton proposed expanding the Minnesota GI Bill to provide thousands of Veterans access to new job training.

      In a highly-competitive job market, Veterans often need additional education and skills training to reenter the workforce. This need for continued educational development is not limited to recent Veterans and by expanding the Minnesota GI Bill; Governor Dayton will make sure all Veterans have access to the job skills they need to be successful in today’s economy.

      Every year, thousands of Minnesotans dutifully and nobly serve their state and nation as members of the armed forces. Governor Mark Dayton believes it is our state’s duty to ensure these men and women have the support they need to succeed when they return home.  In the next legislative session, Governor Dayton and the Legislature have an opportunity to work together on behalf of these Veterans and all Minnesotans.

      Governor Dayton has outlined two initiatives that he will ask the Legislature to support:

      Expand the GI Bill: Currently the MN GI Bill applies only to Veterans who served after 9/11 and the families of deceased or qualifying disabled Veterans. Governor Dayton’s proposal would expand the qualifications so that all Minnesota Veterans can access the training they need to get good jobs. 

      Funds from the GI Bill are made available when no other funds for financial aid are available for Veterans and their families. The money can be used for any diploma or certificate program, up to:

      (1) $1,000 per semester or term of enrollment;
      (2) $3,000 per state fiscal year; and
      (3) $10,000 in a lifetime.

      In a highly-competitive job market, increased education and skills training are often a necessity for Veterans seeking to reenter the workforce. The expansion of the Minnesota GI Bill will provide all Veterans with the tools they need to succeed.

      Permanently Fund Honor Guards: Military burial honors at their funerals are the last and often only benefit that many of our Veterans receive.  The state previously provided a stipend to local Veterans’ groups to offset incidental costs associated with these honors. 

      This program was originally funded as part of the 2008-2009 budget. In 2010, a onetime supplemental authorization was appropriated. This funding ended in June.

      This year the agency will fund the program through discretionary funding, however stable, dependable funding is critical to ensure that our Veterans receive the benefits they have earned in perpetuity. 

      Governor Dayton announced that he will keep his commitment to provide permanent funding for military burial honors. This initiative will provide ongoing funding to the Nationally Chartered Veterans Organizations at a rate of $50.00 per burial when they provide military burial honors for deceased Veterans.