Vets Line Up for Retraining Assistance



veteran working as a painter

Veteran unemployment has been a focus of our efforts lately. We held a job fair in Detroit that saw 1,300 (and counting) job offers go out to Veterans and we have with more fairs in the works. And two months ago, we introduced the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP) to help Vets retrain in high demand fields.

In less than seven weeks, 27,080 unemployed Veterans have applied to VRAP. You qualify for the program if you are:

  • At least 35 but no more than 60 years old
  • Currently unemployed
  • Have an other than dishonorable discharge
  • Not eligible for any other VA education benefit program
  • Not receiving VA compensation due to unemployability
  • 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). The Department of Labor will offer employment assistance to every Veteran who participates upon completion of the program.

If you meet the criteria above, apply soon.

Retraining for a high demand job can be a lifesaver for some. From the AP:

Dixon lost his job in 2007 and said things have been tough. Despite spotty part-time work in warehousing, finances have been strained and his wife has had to carry the burden of supporting them. A few weeks ago, she retired after 42 years in teaching.

A full-time job would make all the difference, he said.

“It will take some pressure off my wife,” Dixon added. “Right now I’m doing the minimum and I would like to do more.”

Check out more on VRAP here.

Author

Alex Horton

Comments

  1. Dan    

    The success of the program will be measured by how many vets find employment after the training they received, not by how many will be signed up to participate. I hope everyone that applies and finishes will be able to find a meaningful career.

  2. Jenny Cartwright    

    This is a great program. So many employers today say they are having trouble filling open positions because there aren’t enough qualified individuals. The high number of applications in such a short time shows how needed a program like this is.

  3. Matthew Hamm    

    This is a great opportunity. HOWEVER, I have chosen an on-line certificate program offered by Villinova university. As this is a 4-year institution, I am being told VRAP benefits can’t be used.
    I am looking for an on-line program granting ITIL Certification.
    I think the program needs to have a wider scope of institutions which can participate. Certificates are not just granted by 2-year schools.

    1. dawn    

      Hamm, I agree, especially since VRAP cannot be on-line programs either. I hope you read this. I have been trying to find a program in my area, and found one, but no courses being offered this fall semester. The limitations put on this award has made it impossible for me this semester, and I live near a military post.

      It would also be nice if government looked into why vets are not being hired over less qualified civilians, this is my case. I know why and it wouldn’t take long to investigate, but no one really cares. Contractors like to hire their civilian friends and family over qualified vets. I have sen it happen for years and now am a victim of it. That is why some of these contractors rate of female hire is only 55% veterans, while the males are 95% veteran. These are the actual numbers CSC gave the OFCCP.

  4. Clarence Larry    

    HEY VA
    WHY NOT TRAIN THE VETS FOR THE EMPLOYES VA NEEDS TO HIRE RETRIN THE VETS FOR CHEAP AND VA GETS CHEAP TRAINING FOR JOBS VA NEEDS

  5. dean kreger    

    Site would not let me registar.I tried to create a password.The 1st character it told me it was invalid

  6. richard wilson    

    i finally got approved i think this is a good deal but will be better if jobs are available

    1. Regina    

      How long did it take to receive the approval? I applied but have not heard anything. Do you know how I can check on the progress of my application?

      Thank you

  7. Rick Maxson    

    I can not register for classes unless I pay up-front for them. I am unemployed, as required for VRAP. How do I get the financing to start? I can not get a loan, do to unemployment. Does the program take this in concideration and has there been a plan put in place?
    Every VA page I go to takes me back to the same question page where I was told it was not there department.

    1. Gary Flewell    

      Rick, if you go to a community college and sign up for classes, make sure you fill out the FAFSA (google it and fill it out online) for federal financial aid. At least here in California, FAFSA completion allows for BOG waivers to pay for registration and tuition…no cost to you! Best of luck!

  8. Susan Bataineh    

    I have submitted paperwork on this over a month ago and have heard nothing on it. Not an approval nor a denial. The next semester is coming up and I would like to know if I will be able to start school or not. I have tried several times to call but I keep getting the same, pre-recorded message, about how they are inundated with calls right now and to leave a message. It would be nice to find out a status!!!

    1. Stan Baker    

      I filled out paper work over two months ago. I kept calling every week and got the same message as you did. 9 weeks later I finally got a hold of some one and they told me that it looks like you may be able for some asistance. Imagine my surprise when I recieved a letter of denial for any educational benefits or assistance. My college starts July 30th and it looks as if it will be all on me to pay for my school.

  9. scott    

    @rick i had the same problem but i found a community college that has a project management course and the school gave me a thirty day waiver they knew that the funds would not start till thirty days after starting classes…now my problem is my school certified me june 18th and i havent heard anything from the va and i cant log onto w.a.v.e. so im supposed to start school in 7 days….even know i was approved for the program the school and course has to be approved also alot of time and red tape..

  10. Kirk Christensen    

    In my humble opinion the best thing the VA could do is source all of these already highly qualified individuals to in house, or in VA/Government On the Job programs (and/or create them.) That way they could perform OJT for positions the Government and the VA needs Nationwide and send them to school for additional training part time/simutaneously, online and in schools. With the Government scheduled to lose more then 15-20% of the Baby Boomers and workforce just in the next 2-3 years the boost in training alongside these people before their expierience is lost along with continuing education should not be overlooked. Plus the bonus of part time work/salary along with an education and those benefits at the same time would draw many Veterans with already high skills and dedication to their country to GOVT Service!

    1. Earnie    

      Wow…….Great Idea if someone would actually take your idea and use it.

  11. Candace Leigh Bowen    

    To Va,
    Thank you for the opportunity!
    Candace Leigh Bowen

  12. Stan Baker    

    I filled out the application just as specified. I am trying to go back to college, because the job I am in with the Department Of Veterans Affairs as a Police Officer took a 10% pay cut, just around the time my wife lost her job due to a non-employable injury. Most of the guys I work with are now facing bankuptcy, tapping into their tsps and some are looking real close to loosing it all. After filling out tha application, I was told I am ineligible for any type of assistance. I served 9 honorable years in the United States Navy and the only assistance they can provide for me is co-pay for medical. Now if I read this right:

     Have an other than dishonorable discharge
     Not eligible for any other VA education benefit program
     Not receiving VA compensation due to unemployability
     Not enrolled in a federal or state job-training program
    They say “NOT ELLIGIBLE FOR ANY OTHER VA EDUCATION BENEFIT PROGRAM.”
    I’m not elligible for any program acording to the VA…education and very little health. True I do have a job (pay is not enough to keep me or my family afloat..barely), and there are other’s out there worse off then myself…but com’on. There are hundreds if not more vets like me out there, who need assistance to get ahead…I wouldn’t even care if they assisted me with a low interest VA Education loan for schooling. I’m not impressed with the Veterans Benifits that do not Benefit all Veterans not just the few.

    1. Rhonda    

      you also have to be unemployed

  13. Michael    

    I am the first to have applied for the VRAP program. So far, all I’ve received is a form letter.

    My training was supposed to have started on July 1. So far, nothing.

    Hey VRAP people, where the hell are you and whats your problem?

    1. Maria Castillo    

      Sorry to hear the denial stories.I am a substitute teacher, a part-time job. I applied for this assistance the day it was posted in the website. I received an eligibility letter a month or less after. I already started classes at a vocational school. I’m also sorry to hear the funds are not going to be disbursed until a month after we start school! The school also had me apply for financial aid and I qualified! (Even though I had previously defaulted on loans, but were paid off.)

  14. Robert Mitchell    

    Please remove the pictures of government persons displaying their government ID’s or blank them out.

    Robert Mitchell
    Army G1 SHARP Program

  15. Jonlyn    

    After listening to all the comments, I have a suggestion.. why doesn’t everyone contact their local VA administration office. Maybe you can get some help there…. I am planning on applying for this assistance. But, I feel that if I have someone to sit down and talk to will be more beneficial to me.. good luck to you all..and remember .. squeaky wheel gets the oil lol

  16. Lancelot    

    It seems as though no ammount of complaining is worth the aggrevation. I’m still waiting for an answer also. It has been about six weeks since I have registered for VRAP. Good things come to he who waits. Patience is a virtue. Hang in there.
    Semper Fi!

  17. Lancelot    

    Patience is a virtue. Constant complaining is not the answer. VRAP is here to help so don’t be rude about it, be thankful. Remember, you were not the first one in line. There is always someone in front of you. First come first serve. Hang in there. I have been waiting for almost six weeks now. No money coming in and just watching another class start date ease on by. Eventually good things come to he who waits. Semper Fi!

    1. KDHam    

      I applied for the program the day it opened up. I recieved a certificate of eligibilty 3 weeks later. Today, I received my benefits award letter, and will be receiving a check for the $1473.00 until the end of my course,which is 10 mos long, and with a Pell grant and the 45% discount the school gives for being a vet, I only had to take out a loan for $1100.00..Keep checking with them and talk to a live person and ask them the status of your application. Make sure you are attending a community college, tech or trade school so there will not be any delays in your application..Good Luck

  18. Rhonda    

    I’m still waiting patiently for results. My FASFA was suspended, and too late to apply anywhere else.

  19. Rhonda    

    i am still applying to school and planning to make installment payments. got to get the first payment. I’m unemployed, thinking about selling some things to raise enough so I can get into school. hopefully I’ll have heard back from VRAP so I won’t have to drop my classes.

  20. Earnie    

    I signed up for VRAP in May right after it was started and haven’t heard anything back regarding status.

  21. Roger    

    I have been approved and had picked my school. Was doing an online course for motorcycle repair as there are few tech schools in the area that have motorcycle training. Had even finished three exams and had everything set up for payments then get a letter that the school was not approved. Seems you have to go to a community college or tech school locally. Now I have to scramble to see if I can get in before the courses begin as well as try and find a way to pay the tuition since I’m unemployed as well. Whats the problem with a correspondence course as long as it is from a technical school that is approved for other VA programs? Calling them in the mornign to find out why? Maybe I can salvage this yet.

  22. Shirley Mayer    

    The training site I want to use does not have a VA rep. I have tried asking who might have this job, but the administration does not know. Guidance would be appreciated. Thanks.

  23. jeffrie    

    i was approved and have started school. i did everthing over the net. even got my pell on line

  24. Henry Lamb,Jr.    

    While this may be a great program as with many programs in it’s infancy there is a problem. #1 If veterans are homeless or unemployed there’s a great chance that they may never hear about the VRAP program without a computer. The info about this program isn’t in the local newspaper or on the local news, hopefully the info will be posted on boards at the salvation armies and/or around the country. The only way I found out was I have access to a computer and I signed up for Militay.com. #2 Once a veteran learns of the program chooses a school, career field thats considered in high demand, completes all the required paperwork and is approved the next hurdle is registration. This is my problem. If one is homeless and/or unemployed I am only unemployed, then how does one pay to register for the class ? I don’t have a $600 initial down payment to register for the class to be able to attend. The VA doesn’t give advances which they should work in conjunction with the schools to provide this money so one may enroll to be able to attend the training. So without the money to register I have gone through this entire process only to be stymied by lack of funds so the VA may as well erase my name, because if I’m not registered I cannot attend the class so they will not send me any benefits.

  25. Ray Cabulong    

    I got my eligibility letter from the VA for the VRAP program last month. I applied for a Medical Assistant courses at Anthem Institute in Las Vegas, NV, where I live. This course is 10 1/2 months long and the class runs Monday thru Thursday from 8:00 am until 1:30 pm. The school financial adviser told me that the VA will not approve of my financial aid under VRAP because VA requires a full-time class load of six hours a day and I was 1/2 an hour shy of the required class load. I think the VA “brainers” needed to change their criteria otherwise this program is going to waste. Let’s cut the red tape.

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