With limited spots remaining nationwide, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) highlighted a newly-available jobs retraining assistance program made possible through the VOW to Hire Heroes Act. Alongside a jobless veteran who is training for a new career at Cincinnati State Community College through Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP) funds, Brown urged southwest Ohio veterans to apply for the program which has already accepted 1,940 Ohio veterans.
"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."
Brown was joined by Tom Zengerling, a formerly-homeless and unemployed veteran from southwest Ohio who served in the Air Force. Using VRAP funds, he is attending Cincinnati State Community College to take courses in medical assisting.
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.
VRAP has already approved more than 40,000 participants for retraining assistance this summer. Although the first round is limited to 45,000 veterans for retraining assistance--VRAP is still accepting applications and veterans are encouraged to apply. If an application is approved after the limit of 45,000 is reached, the new benefits will begin after the new fiscal year. Beginning Oct. 1st, an additional 54,000 veterans can receive assistance until March 31, 2014. Participants must be enrolled in a VA-approved education program 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.