Thousands of Veterans Apply for New VRAP Training Program

By Catherine Groux
Posted November 08, 2012 04:00 PM

Many veterans have already applied to the VRAP training program.
Many veterans have already applied to the VRAP training program.
When the president signed the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011, the new law included the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP), the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) states. This program provides 12 months of training to unemployed veterans, striving to award them associate's degrees or certificates in high-demand fields.

The training these veterans can receive is determined by the U.S. Department of Labor, which created a list of in-demand jobs. Among the positions on this list are tax preparers, photographers, registered nurses, pharmacy technicians, skincare specialists and massage therapists.

Under the VRAP, veterans can receive up $1,473 per month for up to 12 months. Additionally, the Department of Labor will provide employment assistance to all participants, with the goal of training 99,000 veterans for high-demand jobs in the next two years.

In order to apply, veterans must be between the ages of 35 and 60 and unemployed on the day they submit their application. These individuals must also be enrolled in education or training after July 1, 2012 at an approved community college or technical school, the VA reports.

Although the VA only began accepting applications on May 15, they have seen a tremendous response from veterans. According to a recent survey, as of May 31, the VA received more than 12,000 online applications for the VRAP.

This figure is important for veterans who wish to take advantage of the program, as the VA stated it is only accepting a limited number of participants. Currently, the VRAP is limited to the 45,000 participants accepted earlier this year and another 54,000 veterans from October 1, 2012 through March 21, 2014.

Still, while thousands of veterans have already applied for the program, VA officials said they are striving to ensure all former military members know about this new opportunity available to them.

"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," Curtis Coy, VA’s deputy undersecretary for economic opportunity, said in a statement. "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." 

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