A joint program of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Labor (DOL) will now provide up to 12 months of job retraining assistance to veterans hardest hit by current economic conditions.
The Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP), ready for implementation on July 1, emerged from the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 signed into law by President Obama earlier this year.
To qualify for the program, veterans must be between the ages of 35 and 60, unemployed (with special consideration given to veterans who have been unemployed for more than 26 weeks), honorably discharged, and ineligible for any other VA education program. They must not be receiving compensation due to incapacity to work and they must not be enrolled in a federal or state job training program.
Participants must be enrolled in a VA-approved program of education offered by a community college or technical school. The program must lead to an Associate Degree, Non-College Degree, or a Certification, and train the veteran for a high-demand occupation.
Applications for VRAP are through DOL while the financial distribution will occur through VA. The program is limited to 45,000 veterans during Fiscal Year 2012 and to 54,000 from October 1, 2012 through March 31, 2014. Participants may receive the assistance at the full-time payment rate under the Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty program. The total for this rate is currently $1,473 per month although Cost of Living Adjustments may change the amount later.