TOLEDO, OH – More than 47,000 veterans nationwide have applied for a newly-available jobs retraining assistance program made possible through the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, a veterans jobs law enacted in November. At The Source Northwest Ohio in Toledo today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined Kenneth Taylor, an unemployed Northwest Ohio veteran who will train for a new career at Owens Community College, to highlight the new Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP) and to encourage eligible Ohio veterans to apply. Brown was also joined by Eric Walker, Director of The Source Northwest Ohio, as well as Lucas County Commissioners Pete Gerken, Tina Skeldon Wozniak, and Carol Contrada.
“Just as we invest in our servicemembers while they’re on the battlefield, we should do the same when they return home,” Brown said. “The Veterans Retraining Assistance Program will help ensure that thousands of veterans can get retrained for new positions in high-demand jobs—and with a limited number of spaces available, it’s critical that eligible Ohio veterans apply as quickly as possible for these critical benefits.”
Kenneth Taylor, an unemployed veteran from Toledo, served in the Air Force until 1982. After his service, he ran a travel agency, but is currently unemployed. Using VRAP funds, he will attend Owens Community College to take courses for drug addiction counseling or human services.
Brown was an original cosponsor of the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, a key provision of which is VRAP, which offers job retraining assistance to veterans between 35 and 60 years of age. According to the VA—which is administering the program along with the U.S. Department of Labor—VRAP offers up to 12 months of training assistance to unemployed veterans.
Between July 1, 2012, and March 31, 2014, the program will provide up to 99,000 participants with retraining assistance. The first wave of enrollment closes September 30, 2012. 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.
The VRAP offers 12 months of training assistance to Veterans who:
- Are at least 35 but no more than 60 years old
- Are unemployed on the date of application
- Received an other than dishonorable discharge
- Are not 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 receiving VA compensation due to unemployability; and
- Are not enrolled in a federal or state job training program
Veterans can apply for VRAP assistance online by visiting the VA’s eBenefits page. Brown also released a county-by county map of Veterans Service Commission (VSC) sites where veterans can receive assistance in applying for VRAP funding.