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Monday, July 09, 2012
New program provides job training help for older candidates
The capacity of our national heart is measured in part by how we honor our military veterans. Providing job skills is one way Americans show our appreciation to those who have defended our nation and our way of life. Sometimes, though, older veterans kind of fall through the cracks and don’t always qualify for job-training programs that are available to those who more recently left military service.Fortunately, that old need is being met by a new program, the Veteran Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP), which has shown rapid growth nationally and is available locally through Clark College’s veterans affairs office. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is aggressively promoting VRAP, and The Columbian is glad to help spread the news. VRAP is available for unemployed military veterans 35-60 years old who are not eligible for other VA education benefits, are not enrolled in federal or state job programs and do not receive VA aid because of being unemployable.
The assistance for vocational training is considerable, certainly enough to catch the eye of any veteran who might be eligible: up to $1,473 per month for 12 months, with the added benefit of becoming qualified in high-demand areas such as health care, management and legal services.
A Thursday story in The Columbian reported that more than 27,000 unemployed veterans have applied nationally; that’s more than half the number of allotted slots for fiscal year 2012. The VRAP program will serve 99,000 veterans nationwide, including 45,000 in the coming school year and 54,000 in 2013-2014.
Here in Clark County, about 40 veterans have inquired about VRAP assistance, and the one- or two-per-day inquiries are expected to quickly increase as the public awareness campaign continues.
Veterans can apply for VRAP online at U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Click on “VOW to Hire Heroes” at the bottom of the page. Locally, more information is available through Clark College’s veterans affairs office.
VRAP is one of several educational and vocational programs available to veterans. Others sources of financial aid include the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the Montgomery GI Bill, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Assistance and other programs such as Clark College’s 25 percent tuition discount for qualified veterans. Slightly more than 500 former members of the armed forces are attending Clark College with benefits under various VA programs.
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