Veterans Retraining Assistance Program
initiative receives strong initial response
|WASHINGTON, D.C. (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs)
— Within two weeks of being announced, the Veterans Retraining
Assistance Program (VRAP) for eligible unemployed veterans has received
more than 12,000 online applications, according to the Department of
Veterans Affairs (VA).
“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,” Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said in a VA news
“We will continue to build on the success of our initial outreach
efforts to veterans,” he added.
The VRAP allows qualifying veterans between the ages of 35 and 60 to
receive up to 12 months of education assistance.
Maximum payment under VRAP is 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 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 for VRAP, veterans must:
— Be 35 to 60 years old, unemployed on the day of application, and have
been issued discharges under conditions other than dishonorable;
— Be enrolled in education or training after July 1, 2012, in a
VA-approved program of education offered by a community college or
technical school leading to an associate degree, non-college degree or a
certificate for a high-demand occupation as defined by the Department of
— Not be eligible for any other VA education benefit, such as the
Post-9/11 GI Bill, the Montgomery GI Bill, or Vocational Rehabilitation
— Not have participated in a federal or state job training program
within the last 180 days; and
— Not receive VA compensation at the 100 percent rate due to individual
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 also will provide VRAP
information and assistance at hiring fairs throughout the country
sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce through the Hiring Our Heroes
Veterans are encouraged to visit the nearly 3,000 VA career centers
located across the nation for assistance from staff, local employment
representatives, and disabled veterans outreach program specialists.
For more information, veterans also can to the website
http://www.benefits.va.gov/VOW/ for veterans job benefits
information or to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website at