The Department of Veterans Affairs -- VA -- is spreading the word about new updates to the Post 9/11 GI Bill that now covers vocational, on-the-job training, apprenticeship training, and correspondence schools.

The updated benefits offer the opportunity to learn real world working skills without spending two or four years in pursuit of a college degree.

Common training programs covered by the updated GI Bill include professional computer skills, long-haul truck driving, medical support such as laboratory testing, beauty and cosmetology schools, law enforcement training academies, and real estate classes.

In addition to vocational and on-the-job training, active-duty service members and their spouses are now eligible for an allowance that covers textbooks and supplies. This maximum $1,000-a-year allowance is pro-rated based on the number of credits taken.

Distance-learning students, excluding active-duty service members and their spouses, are now eligible for the education program’s monthly living stipend, with payments based on the number of courses they’re taking.

There's more information about these expanded education benefits on the VA's website:

via Welcome to the GI Bill Web Site | The Home for All Educational Benefits Provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

And on this website:

via Today's GI Bill.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates as many as 13,000 people could find work within a year using these new benefits.