Training grants available for military spouses

With so many families in the U.S. affected by the deployment of military personnel around the globe, we sometimes forget the sacrifices these families, not just the members of our military, make on a daily basis to keep us safe and promote the ideals we hold so dear.

Spouses, in particular, are hard hit. They are left behind for months, or even years, as their significant other battle for this country. They may be raising children on their own. In some cases, the spouse may not have been working when their loved one was deployed. Finding a job in this economy is tough enough for someone with experience in a given field; try finding a job if you have no experience.

But a new program approved by the Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MvCAA) program will offer up to $6,000 for spouses of active duty military and activated National Guard and Reserve members for training at the National Tractor Trailer School (NTTS) in Liverpool and Buffalo, NY.

“Six grand will cover a portion of [tuition], or all of it in some cases, but if the student is eligible for student aid” that can help as well, Harry Kowalchyk, president of the school, told me. Tuition ranges from $5,395 to $8,295, he said.

The school counts among its clients about 10-15% military or ex-military personnel utilizing educational opportunities afforded them through their service, Kowalchyk said.

“[The program’s] relatively new,” Kowalchyk said. “We do quite a bit of work with Fort Drum, which is located just north of us…We work with those that are transitioning out of the military so that they have a marketable skill when they leave the military and enter into the private sector.”

NTTS trains about 800 students a year and offers a series of courses. The courses are available both on a full-time or part-time basis and include classroom, CDL permit preparation, labs and behind-the-wheel training.

According to the school, “the period of eligibility for spouses of guard and reserve members is from the date of the alert or warning order for military recall or mobilization, through activation and deployment until 180 days following de-mobilization. Spouses of the severely injured, ill, wounded, killed in action (KIA), prisoners of war (POW) or missing in action (MIA) are also eligible.”

In addition to the $6,000, students are still eligible for any number of grant or loan programs as well. The school is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges.

For information courses, schedules and financial aid, contact Kimberly Sather at 315-451-2430 or visit