Veterans Retraining Program (VRAP) Helps Nearly 100K Enhance Job Skills
Veterans Retraining Program Helps Vets Enhance High-Demand Job Skills
The first phase of a new Veterans Retraining Program (VRAP) will help 45,000 veterans enhance their employability through the development of new or improved job skills.
Although slots for the first phase of the program are now filled, the Department of Veterans Affairs is currently in the process of reviewing additional applications which will bring the total slots for FY 2013 up to 54,000.
The Veterans Retraining Program is a vocational program for unemployed veterans who want to upgrade their skills for high-demand jobs. The goal of VRAP is to train a total of 99,000 Veterans over the next two years in more than 200 job skills that the Department of Labor (DOL) has determined are the most sought-after by employers.
The joint VA/DOL program is a provision of the Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW) to Hire Heroes Act of 2011, which Congress passed and President Obama signed into law in November 2011. The program allows qualifying veterans to receive up to 12 months of education assistance equal to the current full-time Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty rate of $1,473 per month. Starting October 1, 2012 the rate will increase to $1546 per month.
According to Veteran’s Administration officials, the surge of veteran’s applying for the program clearly demonstrates the need for it.
The criteria needed to participate in the VRAP program include:
- Be 35-60 years old, unemployed on the day of application, and not dishonorably discharged;
- Not be eligible for any other VA education benefit program such as the Post-9/11 GI Bill, Montgomery GI Bill, or Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment;
- Not be enrolled in a federal or state job-training program within the last 180 days; and
- Not receive VA compensation at the 100 percent rate due to individual unemployability (IU).
Veterans approved for VRAP are encouraged to enroll in their training as soon as possible. The program of study must lead to an associate degree, a non-college degree or an Department of Labor-approved occupational certificate. Some of the high-demand job training programs include computer support specialists, business managers, heating and air and refrigeration mechanics and installers.
Applications for VRAP training were received from all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands. The top three states approved for VRAP training in 2012 were California, Florida and Georgia. Veterans living in Canada, the Phillipians, Japan, the Pacific and Europe also applied for the program.
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