By Diane Zumatto, AMVETS National Legislative Director
Last fall, Congress passed, and the President signed into law, the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 in order to help veterans find jobs. The VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 is now being implemented, and with that, unemployed veterans ages 35-60 can apply for retraining under the Montgomery GI Bill for in-demand jobs.
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 (The Department of Labor defines "unemployed" as "People who are jobless, looking for jobs, and available for work." All three criteria must be met to be considered 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; and
- 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. To learn more about the program, eligibility, and important dates, please click here. Be sure to spread the word to other veterans!