While many of us are celebrating Memorial Day with our families at a barbeque in our backyard or a park, many veterans are struggling to find work after being released from their service to our country. This is a day for all of us to remember the price these soldiers paid to protect the United States from harm.
Finding a job these days is challenging for most of us. Veterans are having an even more difficult time assimilating in our society and finding work. Many do not have a college education which is increasingly required in securing employment with a livable wage. There is help for these displaced veterans from our federal government that you need to be aware of.
Congress passed, and the President signed into law, the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 in November of last year. Included in this new law is the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP). VRAP offers up to 12 months of training assistance to unemployed Veterans. The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) and the Department of Labor (DOL) are working together to roll out this new program on July 1, 2012.
The VRAP offers 12 months of training assistance to Veterans who:
- Are at least 35 but no more than 60 years old
- Are unemployed
- Received an other than dishonorable discharge
- Are not be eligible for any other VA education benefit program (e.g.: the Post-9/11 GI Bill, Montgomery GI Bill, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Assistance)
- Are not in receipt of VA compensation due to unemployability
- Are not enrolled in a federal or state job training program
The program is limited to 45,000 participants from July 1, 2012, through September 30, 2012, and 54,000 participants from October 1, 2012, through March 31, 2014. Participants may receive up to 12 months of assistance equal to the monthly full-time payment rate under the Montgomery GI Bill–Active Duty program (currently $1,473 per month). DOL will offer employment assistance to every Veteran who participates upon completion of the 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 Certificate, and train the Veteran for a high demand occupation.
They are accepting VRAP applications now. Please visit eBenefits to apply. Remember, to complete the application, you will need to know your direct deposit information (bank routing number and account number), the name and location of your school, the program you wish to pursue. http://benefits.va.gov/vow/education.htm
Happy Memorial Day! A big thanks to the military that protect and serve our country!