The federal government created a job training program for unemployed veterans and former military members. The Veterans Retraining Assistance Program, or VRAP, was initiated by the Department of Labor as well as the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide individuals with the skills and experiences that are required to obtain jobs that are in high demand.
The VRAP program was created as part of the Hire Heroes Act of 2011, and it offers up to 12 months of training and career assistance to qualified, unemployed Veterans. A summary of the other qualifications are below. Applicants need to be unemployed on the date of application; range in age from 35 to 60; They can’t be qualified for any other VA education benefit program (examples Montgomery GI Bill, Vocational Rehabilitation, the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and Employment Assistance), and they can’t currently be receiving any other VA cash compensation due to their unemployment. This is also a program that is known more as a last resort, so in order to be found qualified applicants can’t be enrolled in any other state or federal government job training program.
Participants need to enroll in a VA approved educational or job training program that is offered by a technical school and/or a community college. Upon completion of the program, it needs to lead to a Certificate, Associate Degree, Non-College Degree, or some other equivalent training of the veteran for an occupation that is in high demand.
Those who are able to enroll must attend all sessions and classes full-time in order to receive up to 12 months of financial assistance that is equal to the monthly full-time payment rate under the Montgomery GI Bill–Active Duty program. The US Department of Labor will offer job training and employment assistance to every Veteran who participates upon completion of the VRAP program.
The payment that is made will be sent directly to the individual who is enrolled and not to the school. So this means that the participant is responsible for paying any of their educational expenses, such as fees, tuition, transportation, housing, and books.
One of the primary goals of the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program is to provide people the ability to gain new skills, and sharpen existing ones through vocational, technical, or academic retraining. The federal government has decided that there are more than 200 key job skills that the Department of Labor (DOL) has determined are the most sought-after by employers. Learning about those, and working on these skills, should help ex military members find meaningful employment in high-demand careers that could lead to a decent wage. The DOL is working with federal, state government, local and public-private partners around the country. Many private employers are also basing some of their hiring decisions on ex veterans.
If you are approved it is strongly recommended that you enroll as soon as possible and begin training full-time in a VA-approved program of study at a technical school or community college. The job training program needs to lead to some form of certification or degree in order to be successful for the individual.
The results of surveys and studies from the federal government has shown that many of the individuals are training for careers in the following fields. General and operations manager; Computer support specialist; Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselor; Business operations specialist; Heavy and tractor-trailer driver; Heating, air conditioning and refrigeration mechanic and installer; Paralegal and legal assistant; Medical assistant; and/or registered nurse.
The federal government is also trying to sign up and enroll as many people as possible. So continued outreach on the VRAP program is a key to its success. It is particularly important to spread the word on this service because the program applies to only a small segment of the veteran population that may not have regular interaction with VA. Unfortunately may ex-members of our military services also do not stay informed about all of the veterans’ benefits and opportunities, so they may not have heard about this new resource. So spread the word to friends, families, and people you served with.
The military as well as the federal government is counting heavily on the continued help of the Department of Labor, Veterans Service Organizations, local non-profit organizations (such as the community action agencies) and also the American public. Everyone is trying to reach as many qualified veterans as possible to let them know about this opportunity.
Anyone who needs more information can learn more about the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program. You can dial 800.827.1000 to speak to a specialist, and you can also enroll online. Another option is to stop by a local One-Stop Career Center, and those locations will also have information.
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