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The Veterans Retraining Assistance Program - Vocational Rehabilitation and Employers

Author: Wendy Taormina-Weiss

Published: 2012-06-19

Synopsis and Key Points:

Veterans Retraining Assistance Program or VRAP offers up to a year of training assistance to veterans who are unemployed.

Main Digest

The VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 has been passed by Congress and signed by the President. Within the new law is the, 'Veterans Retraining Assistance Program,' or, 'VRAP,' which offers up to a year of training assistance to veterans who are unemployed.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), in conjunction with the Department of Labor (DOL), are working to begin the VRAP program on July 1st of this year. Veterans who are unemployed, as well as meeting the age requirement, might be eligible for VRAP. The program is one meant to assist veterans who are unemployed to obtain the skills they need in order to obtain a job that is in high demand. The DOL defines, 'unemployed,' as, 'People who are jobless, looking for jobs, and available for work.' After completing the VRAP program, the DOL will also offer veterans assistance with employment. The VRAP program offers up to a year's worth of training assistance to veterans who are:

Veterans must have received an other than dishonorable discharge. They must also not be eligible for other VA educational benefit programs such as the Montgomery GI Bill, the Post-9/11 GI Bill, Employment Assistance, or Vocational Rehabilitation.

The VRAP program has a limited number of places available during certain months of the year. Between the months of July 1st, 2012 and September 30th, 2012 there are only 45,000 spots available to veterans who meet the eligibility requirements. Between the months of October 1st, 2012 and March 31st of 2014 there are 54,000 spots available to veterans. Those who participate might receive up to a year's worth of assistance equivalent to the monthly full-time pay rate under the Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty program currently at $1, 473 a month.

The Department of Labor (DOL) will offer employment assistance to each participating veteran after they complete the VRAP program. Veterans who do participate have to be enrolled in a VA approved program of education, one that is offered by a technical school or a community college. The program has to result in a Certificate, Non-College, or Associate Degree as well as training the veteran for a high-demand occupation as determined by the Department of Labor.

Veterans who are Unemployed and Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits

Not eligible for the VRAP program? Veterans with a service-connected disability who have already completed a VA vocational rehabilitation program, having exhausted their initial claim for unemployment benefits, might qualify for an additional year of VA vocational benefits! To be considered, a veteran must have previously completed a VA Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program and be considered, 'rehabilitated,' by the VA. A veteran has to apply within 6 months of using their initial claim for unemployment benefits, although they can still collect extended or emergency unemployment if they qualify for the benefits. Veterans have to apply to the VA by March 31st of 2014.

A number of ways exist for veterans to apply or find out more information concerning whether they qualify or not. The first and perhaps easiest way is to simply call the VA at: 1-800-827-1000 and ask to talk with Vocational Rehabilitation. You can also go to: and fill out the VA's online application for Vocational Rehabilitation, or apply by filling out VA Form 28-1900 the, 'Disabled Veterans Application for Vocational Rehabilitation,' and then submit it to your closest VA Regional Office.

The VA's, 'Special Employer Incentive,' Program for Veterans

The, 'Special Employer Incentives (SEI),' program is one for veterans who are eligible and face obstacles related to obtaining a job. Through the SEI program, participating employers hire veterans who are expected to follow through and successfully complete the SEI program. Due to this approach, the SEI program benefits not only the veterans, but the employers.

Veterans gain immediate income and benefits from their status as an employee, while overcoming their barrier to employment. They learn valuable skills in a practical setting while meeting the employer's specifications. Permanent employment follows the successful completion of the SEI program, and the veteran's Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor or Employment Coordinator is there along the way to help with work-related needs and training.

VRAP High Demand Occupations (PDF)

Factors to Consider When Choosing a School (PDF)

"We have put together a helpful guide that contains many factors that may assist you when choosing a school."

Special Employer Incentives Program (SEI)

"The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program provides eligible Veterans an opportunity to obtain training and practical hands-on experience concurrently through the Special Employer Incentives (SEI) program."

RecruitMilitary Colorado Springs Job Fair

"The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is proud to partner with RecruitMilitary for the upcoming "Hiring Our Heroes" RecruitMilitary Veteran Opportunity Expo in Colorado Springs."

World Arena
Colorado Springs, CO
Thursday, July 12, 2012
11:00 AM to 3:00 PM

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