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New VRAP on the horizon July 1

Veterans Retraining Assistance Program

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Labor (DOL) are working together to roll out the new Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP) on July 1. The VRAP offers 12 months of training assistance to Veterans who:

• are at least 35, but no more than 60 years old.

• are unemployed.

• received an other-than-dishonorable discharge.

• are not eligible for any other VA education benefit programs (e.g.: the Post-9/11 GI Bill, Montgomery GI Bill, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Assistance).

• are not in receipt of VA compensation, due to unemployability.

• are not enrolled in a federal or state job training program.

The program is limited to 45,000 participants during fiscal year 2012, and to 54,000 participants from Oct. 1, 2012 through March 31, 2014. Participants will receive a monthly payment equal to the full-time payment rate under the Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty program (currently $1,473 per month). The benefit will be paid directly to you, and you are responsible for paying your expenses, which include tuition, fees and books. The DOL will offer employment assistance to every veteran who participates or applies to the VRAP program. Participants must be enrolled in a VA approved program of education, offered by a community college or technical school. Additionally, the program must lead to an associate degree, non-college degree or a certificate. The program should also train the veteran for a high-demand occupation. VRAP will provide training for programs of education that lead to a high-demand occupation, as determined by the DOL. Positions in focus involve:

• management.

• business and financial operations.

• computers and mathematics.

• architecture and engineering.

• life, physical and social science.

• community and social services.

• law.

• education, training and library.

• arts, design, entertainment, sports and media.

• health care practitioning and technical.

• health care support.

• protective service.

• food preparation and serving.

• building, grounds cleaning and maintenance.

• personal care and service.

• sales.

• office and administrative support.

• construction and extraction.

• installation, maintenance and repair.

• production.

• transportation and material moving.

The DOL and VA began accepting applications Tuesday. To complete an application, it's important to know your direct deposit information (bank routing number and account number), the name and location of your school, the program you wish to pursue and the applicable high demand occupation. For veterans seeking employment, there are extensive employment resources made available by the Federal Government.

As always, please see your local county veterans service officer if you have any questions. You can contact your local VSO at 218-631-7617 or by email at And as always, have a great week.