May 31, 2012, 08:00:00 AM
VA Outreach for Veterans Retraining Assistance Program Garners Over 12,000 Applicants since May 15
WASHINGTON – Within two weeks of being announced, a program to give skills training to some unemployed Veterans has garnered over 12,000 online applications, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“VA is committed to supporting Veterans as they seek employment. This initiative will help provide education and training so that Veterans have an opportunity to find meaningful employment in a high-demand field,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “We will continue to build on the success of our initial outreach efforts to Veterans.”
Called the Veteran Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP), the program allows qualifying Veterans between the ages of 35 and 60 to receive up to 12 months of education assistance. Maximum payments are equal to the full-time rate for the Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty, currently $1,473 monthly.
Under VRAP, Veterans apply on a first-come, first-served basis for programs that begin on or after July 1. VA began accepting applications on May 15. Forty-five thousand Veterans can participate during the current fiscal year, and up to 54,000 may participate during the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2012.
The goal of the program is to train 99,000 Veterans for high-demand jobs over the next two years.
To qualify Veterans must:
While the initial response has been encouraging, VA officials stress the need for a sustained effort to reach potential VRAP applicants.
“Besides the Veterans themselves, we are asking anyone who knows of an unemployed Veteran to help us get the word out so everyone can take advantage of this new benefit,” said Curtis Coy, VA’s deputy undersecretary for economic opportunity. “With the help of our Veterans community and our partners in the Department of Labor, we hope to reach as many eligible Veterans as possible.”
In addition to its national outreach campaign, VA will seek out potential VRAP-qualified Veterans through online applications and at the National Veterans Small Business Conference being held in Detroit June 26-28. During 2012, VA representatives will also provide VRAP information and assistance at hiring fairs sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce through the Hiring Our Heroes campaign.
For more information on the Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW) program, the Hire Heroes Act of 2011, VRAP, high demand occupations, and application procedures, visit the website at www.benefits.va.gov/VOW, or call VA National Call Center toll free at 1-800-827-1000.
Veterans may also access the VRAP application online at https://www.ebenefits.va.gov through eBenefits, a joint project between VA and the Department of Defense.
Veterans are also encouraged to visit the nearly 3,000 One-Stop Career Centers across the nation for assistance from staff, Local Veterans’ Employment Representatives (LVERS), and Disabled Veterans’ Outreach Program (DVOP) specialists. Center locations are listed at www.servicelocator.org.
# # #
People wishing to receive e-mail from VA with the latest news releases and updated fact sheets can subscribe to the
VA Office of Public Affairs Distribution List.