While much focus has been devoted to education and training for our younger Veterans, we have not lost sight that we have another group who has served our Nation with distinction. Many of this group may already have some education and training, they need additional assistance to prepare them for a changing career market.
In November 2011, the President signed into law the Vow to Hire Heroes Act. This Act does many things to prepare Veterans for careers after military service, including one provision that specifically targets older veterans. The Veterans Retraining Assistance Program, better known as VRAP, is designed to give up to 12 months of benefits for unemployed Veterans to jump-start into a new, high-demand career field. This provision specifically applies to unemployed Veterans who are between 35 and 60, and not eligible for any other education benefit. The law limits the benefit to 99,000 Veterans. Since May, 2012, over 75,000 Veterans have applied and over 62,000 have already been approved to participate in the program.
VRAP doesn’t end with the provision of education; it goes one step further by assisting Veterans find a career. When a Veteran completes the education or training program, they are then eligible to leverage the Department of Labor programs designed for Veterans.
Help get the word out - make it a point to tell someone who may know an unemployed Veteran now, as the program will end by March 2014.
For information on the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program, visit http://benefits.va.gov/vow/education.htm or call 1-888-GI-BILL-1.
Rosye Cloud is the Director of Policy for Veterans, Wounded Warriors and Military Families